Pompey admit Fratton pitch concern

Mark Catlin has admitted Pompey are concerned over the state of their new Fratton Park pitch.

And the club chief executive revealed discussions over a solution are on-going with the company which laid it this summer.

Part of the Fratton Park pitch was covered in sand on Saturday

Part of the Fratton Park pitch was covered in sand on Saturday

The condition of the playing surface drew much negative reaction from supporters present at Saturday’s clash with Morecambe.

Both goalmouths contained patches of sand, while the traditionally troublesome turf running alongside the South stand was also of poor quality.

Elsewhere, the pitch appeared uneven – although Catlin insists there have been no complaints from the players.

Regardless, considering the pitch was put down from scratch this summer, along with a new drainage system, its current state has raised questions.

Within the club, the blame has been directed at the contractors who laid the surface rather than the existing ground staff.

And it has prompted discussions to be held over a solution.

‘There are some areas of the pitch that are causing slight concern,’ said Catlin.

‘There are a few areas we are not 100-per-cent happy with and that is currently being looked at.

‘We are now working with the company that laid the pitch in the summer and trying to address the issues.

‘From what I have been told, it’s nothing to do with the drainage.

‘When you lay a pitch, for the first season there will be issues with the soil that has been put down. Look at Wembley the first year it was open.

‘I don’t want to get too technical, but we are looking at the soil (beneath the grass) and there is dialogue going on about it.

‘It is nothing to do with our groundsmen, they are doing an absolutely fantastic job and continue to put in plenty of effort on the pitch.

‘We’ve also had an immense amount of rain at a time when the season is well under way and it is difficult for grass pitches in the cold weather.

‘There are just under three weeks until the next first-team home game and the company will do what they can.

‘Like I said, I am generally very happy with it, but there are certain areas we have concerns about and have raised it with the pitch company.’

Pompey’s next first-team match at Fratton Park is against Accrington Stanley on December 13.

Before then, the reserves will today be hosting AFC Wimbledon (2pm) there after the fixture was switched from Furze Lane.

It reflects the trust the club still has in its new playing surface, despite how it currently may look.

And Catlin stressed the players had no complaints about its quality following the 3-0 victory over Morecambe this weekend.

He added: ‘I think the pitch has played relatively well.

‘The players, generally, have said it played very, very well on Saturday – they didn’t have any complaints.

‘We have also got a reserve team game at Fratton Park today, which shows it is fine to play on. Hopefully the other issues can be resolved.’