SALISBURY FC’s manager Steve Claridge has rejected claims that he influenced the referee in getting Tuesday night’s Southern Premier South game called off.

After the decision at around 7pm, Poole Town manager Tom Killick told BBC Solent Sport: “The Salisbury manager [Claridge] thought there was a risk that one of his players could get injured, and he communicated that to the match referee.

“I think that puts the match referee in a very difficult position.”

Mr Killick added: “We called in a local referee to do the pitch inspection at lunch time, who was actually the assistant match referee.

“He said it was playable, and then around 5 hours later, when the pitch was in markedly better condition, the match referee arrived and said it was unplayable.”

But Claridge has rejected this, and said that the decision had nothing to do with him.

He said: “I had no influence in that game being called off whatsoever.

“Me approaching the referee means nothing. We just asked him to look at the pitch, and I watched him throw a ball up into the air and onto the pitch, and it did nothing. It didn’t bounce, it didn’t move at all.

“It was clearly unsafe. We have to think about the players safety, and the referee made his assessment purely on that.

“We wanted to play, we’d named a side, we’d had players that had travelled three hours to be there.

“My assistant manager and a player were there before me, they said the pitch was unplayable, they informed the linesman, and that was it.”

Going forward, Salisbury face Taunton on Saturday at the Cygnet Health Care Stadium, before taking on Truro at the Ray Mac on Tuesday night.

Both teams sit above the Whites in the table, and are big fixtures in their push for the play-offs.

The Whites currently sit 8th in the table, seven points behind Taunton, who occupy the last play-off position.

They have won only one of their last five league games.

Claridge said: “It would be remiss of me to be thinking about the play-offs at the moment, to be honest.

“To say our squad is stretched would be an understatement. We had 10 players with injuries on Saturday.

“We don’t have a central midfielder in the building. Our backs were really against the wall against Met Police.

“It’s been a really difficult season, right from the start. I’m not thinking about anything other taking each game as it comes.”