Fratton Park set for dawn of new season

Fratton Park is ready to host manager Paul Cook's first Pompey home game in charge Picture: Joe Pepler
Fratton Park is ready to host manager Paul Cook's first Pompey home game in charge Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Pitch will be ready for Saturdat after summer work
  • New floodlights to be installed next week
  • Club expect capacity to be above 19,000 this season
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MARK CATLIN began the countdown to the big kick-off and promised: We’ll be ready.

The Blues chief executive is confident Fratton Park will be set to welcome the dawn of the new campaign on Saturday.

The pitch is no issue at all. It’s ready

Mark Catlin

Pompey round off their warm-up fixtures with a trip to Burnham tonight, after Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Gillingham.

Then it’s full steam ahead to the eagerly-anticipated League Two curtain raiser against Dagenham & Redbridge.

Work has been taking place at the Blues’ home across the summer to ensure it’s ready for the occasion.

Key to that has been relaying the pitch, with the surface in terrible condition through much of last season.

A secondary drainage system is now installed and has stood up well to some heavy rainfall at the end of last month.

With the training ground pitches now coming along in similar vein, Catlin is delighted with the work after previous problems with contractors.

Catlin said: ‘We want to say where we are with it every step of the way.

‘The pitch is no issue at all. It’s ready.

‘With all pitches they are a work in progress, but now they are in perfect health.’

The pitch is just one area of extensive ongoing work necessary at Fratton Park.

A new floodlight system has been ordered and is due to be installed after the Capital One Cup meeting with Derby next week.

That is seen as essential work, which is being funded from the money received from the Tesco development next to the ground.

The expectation is work being carried out will allow Fratton Park’s capacity to stand above 19,000 for the campaign.

That application will be made after profiling work in the North Stand is complete, with similar work to South Stand exit routes already finished.

Pompey’s famous Frogmore Road entrance has also been renovated and South Stand refurbuishment is complete, with work on toilets and refurbishments in other stands earmarked.

All of the corporate lounges have been given a summer overhaul, with the finishing touches being put in place over the next couple of weeks.

And a survey of Pompey’s PA system has been completed, with work to improve it scheduled through the season.

The tunnel and dugout areas have also been revamped as the process of keeping a proud but ageing home operational is attacked.

Catlin added: ‘The rebranding of the Fratton End is no issue.

‘All the tunnel area has also been redone.

‘The corporate lounges will be ready for the first game but there will be rebranding going on in the second and third week of the season.

‘All the toilets in the South Stand are done.

‘There are two toilets in the North Stand which are done, but, again, there will be work which is ongoing through the first weeks of the season.

‘A lot of the work is ongoing.

‘It would’ve been impossible to do it all in an eight-week period.

‘We are very pleased with what has been achieved, though.’

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