Derry City manager Kenny Shiels has said he is considering not playing Tuesday’s night rescheduled SSE Premier Division clash with Cork City.
The Candystripes traveled to Cork yesterday for a fixture which could see Cork win the league title and Derry seal a place in Europe, but Hurricane Ophelia has forced a postponement for 24 hours.
The match will now be played on Tuesday at 7:20pm, live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player.
Derry had already started their journey by the time the news came through.
Shiels told BBC Radio Foyle: "We have a duty of care to the families. I have taken young players out of school to come down and play for Derry City in a very important game.
"But the importance of the game is superseded with the safety of these young people. It's important we look after them and put their duty of care before everything.
"We're a little bit concerned to be honest. To sit in a hotel for two and a half days waiting on a game is not the professional preparation we would have liked."
Shiels said playing the game on Tuesday hands an advantage to Cork over Dundalk in the title race, stressing their preparations had been thrown into turmoil.
"I don't want to be critical because I did say in my earlier talks that I didn't think the game should be played on Monday and that proved correct. But in hindsight now it shouldn't be played on Tuesday either because we have been deprived of the preparation.
"You know, this is a potentially a Championship winning game for Cork City and it would also deprive Dundalk of a team that is able to play professionally against that. We have been deprived of that. It's not fair on the likes of Dundalk who are also in the title run.
"We're disappointed we have to play it on Tuesday. But if it's not safe and it's jeopardising the welfare and safety of the players and staff, we will be coming home. I'm in two minds what to do now. I don't see any value is hanging about for two and a half days. We're deprived of our preparation. Any football manager will tell you that you need to have preparation."
"I have to put my player's safety and health before everything"
Asked whether he would consider returning to Derry and not play the game, he said: "There is a distinct possibility and the way I'm thinking about it at the moment is I can't say it for definite. I have to put my players' safety and health before everything.
"I don't think it's fair to be stuck down here for two and a half days preparing for a game when we can't go out the hotel door.
"I don't think it's fair on Dundalk Football Club for example. From that perspective, I have to make a decision on that. We can't really travel either. That's the problem. We're stuck in the middle of this.
"It’s been very demanding on everybody. We’re sitting looking at each other not knowing what to do and psychologically the players are a little bit shocked at having to be here. I don’t want to blame anyone for this. That’s what it is about. It’s about looking after the welfare of the players and staff.
"We feel a little bit hard done by and it’s a little bit paranoid but I couldn’t see Cork City sitting in Derry for two and a half days before a game unable to prepare for a fixture of such importance. I couldn’t see that happening. Maybe that’s a little bit paranoid.
"I certainly have to make a decision if we go back home before this storm or stay down and sit and look at each other. We’re being deprived of proper preparation required for such an important fixture."