DENIS SMITH last night cursed the postponement of Wrexham's big derby day fixture at Chester City.
With Chester reeling after three consecutive League Two defeats and in the midst of a massive injury crisis, the Wrexham boss felt the postponement could not have come at a worse time for his buoyant Red Dragons.
After Wrexham's Boxing Day victory over Rochdale the Dragons had climbed above Chester into sixth for the first time this season and Smith's men were hoping to extend their advantage yesterday.
Before their recent defeat to Rushden & Diamonds, Chester boss Keith Curle found himself with a squad decimated by seven injuries and four suspensions.
Curle named four injured players on the bench in order to prevent an Football Association fine and drafted in goalkeeper John Ruddy from Everton as emergency cover for crocked stoppers Chris MacKenzie (thumb) and Ryan Brookfield (hamstring).
And though the crisis had eased before their Boxing Day defeat at Cheltenham with the return of all four suspended players, including leading goalscorer Ryan Lowe, Chester would still have been without six players yesterday.
Now Wrexham must wait until the new year to lock horns with Chester for the first time in league combat for 11 years after referee Scott Mathieson called off the game due to a frozen surface.
But Smith made no criticism of the referee's decision - saying he never reached the Saunders Honda Stadium to inspect the pitch himself.
"They've had serious injuries and they've lost their last three games, so it would have been an ideal time to play them," he said.
"But we cannot just say, 'Yes we want to play it now,' If the pitch is not right, the pitch is not right."
Smith remained unconcerned about the prospect of the game causing fixture congestion for his small squad of 20 professionals.
He said early exits from the FA and Carling cups as well as the LDV Vans Trophy means rescheduling the derby contest should not present too many headaches.
"We are out of most competitions now," he said. "So it shouldn't be too difficult in terms of fixture congestion."