BURNLEY'S promotion push had to be put on ice after their Boxing Day match was cancelled before kick off because of a frozen pitch.

But their lead at the top of the table remains four points because Manchester City were held to a goalless draw by West Bromwich Albion and Wolves were beaten 3-2 at home by Preston North End.

Those results mean that no matter what happens when Burnley take on City at Maine Road on Saturday, the Clarets will start the new year on top of the table.

Manager Stan Ternent was in both philosophical and diplomatic mood despite the late postponement of the game, just over an hour before the scheduled three o'clock kick off.

"We are disappointed because we were well prepared for the game," he said. "But it is the referee's decision and when we got off the coach we were told by supporters that the match was off.

"We had been looking forward to playing and running a bit of turkey off. It was a sell out game and there woud have been a really good atmosphere.

The decision to postpone the game was made by referee John Brandwood, from Staffordshire, and Ternent said: "Unfortunately the referee decided it was not playable and he explained to me that he had left it as long as he could before making that decision.

"He tried a selection of different footwear and was running down the centre of the pitch and he decided it couldn't be played. It was not the ideal circumstances but you have to abide by it.

"Ronnie Moore (Rotherham manager) wanted to play the game as we all did but we have to respect the decision. Players' safety is always the main concern and if he felt that was problem then that's all there is to it.

"We had looked forward to it and trained well in the morning before setting off at 12 o'clock after being told the match was definitely on."

It was the fact that the match had passed the early inspection that angered the more than 3,000 Clarets fans who crossed the Pennines hoping to enjoy some festive football.

As games at nearby Chesterfield, York and Lincoln were early victims of the weather, the fans were furious that their holiday had been ruined by the late postponement.

Dave Stanton had travelled from Northamptonshire and complained: "I was listening to the radio and heard there was a midday inspection but then heard nothing until I had travelled two hours to get here.

"I know Rotherham have come up through the divisions but I do think that when you get to the first division you shoud have certain facilities, including undersoil heating.

"At least a firm decision shoud be made early and then stuck to."

That was the feeling of fan Stuart Flanagan who had come across from Burnley with five other supporters.

"We waited for the inspection and then set off. It took an hour and 45 minutes and we have already spent money getting here and then in the bar.

"I think it is a disgrace. A decision has to be made, that is the only way."

Mark Dickinson now lives in Finchley but he interrupted a family holiday in Accrington to go and see his beloved Clarets with his sister Judy who was also north for the festive period.

"The Boxing Day match is part of the English tradition and it is very disappointing that it has been called off," he said. "It is not easy to get to games when you live in London and we had both been looking forward to it."