Pompey confident Fratton pitch is on course

The newly-laid Fratton Park pitch
The newly-laid Fratton Park pitch

Fratton Park is beginning to take shape ahead of the eagerly-anticipated new campaign.

Following the introduction of a secondary drainage system, reseeding on the club’s playing surface took place on June 8.

No expense has been spared this summer in regards to materials and equipment, we have done everything possible to ensure the pitch will be as good as it can possibly be

Mark Catlin

It has given the Blues two months to get their pitch ready for the League Two August 8 kick-off against Dagenham & Redbridge.

That is one of two matches in the opening five days of the season, with Derby County also visiting on Wednesday, August 12, in the Capital One Cup.

The playing surface is already under scrutiny following last season’s problems, despite being relaid in the summer of 2014.

However, Mark Catlin is pleased with how the current pitch is progressing.

Pompey’s chief executive said: ‘I am taking my leave from the groundsman on all matters pitch-related and he has told me he is extremely pleased with how things are going.

‘There are still four weeks to go before the first home game and I am told we are well on schedule to be perfect for the start of the new season.

‘No expense has been spared this summer in regards to materials and equipment, we have done everything possible to ensure the pitch will be as good as it can possibly be.

‘There are certainly no undue concerns over hosting two matches in five days at the start of the season on the new surface.

‘Obviously, we are still very sensitive to the condition of the pitch considering what happened last season.

‘But we are extremely confident there will not be a repeat this time around.’

Meanwhile, Paul Cook and his squad are currently not using the training ground’s playing surfaces.

Those pitches were laid several weeks before their Fratton Park equivalent, with both dogged by the same drainage problems.

However, the Blues have elected to allow more time for the Copnor Road surfaces to bed in over the pre-season.

As a result, Cook has alternated taking his team to the Mountbatten Centre, HMS Temeraire, while yesterday they trained on the Hawks’ pitch at Westleigh Park.

They also recently spent six days in the Algarve – the majority of time out there spent using facilities at Vale do Lobo.

Pompey, though, continue to utilise the gym at Roko, in addition to spending Saturday morning working out at Bally’s Gym in Fratton.