Fleetwood Town’s head groundsman Nick Hyndman has revealed that feedback from keeper Alex Cairns resulted in a different approach to relaying the pitch at Highbury this summer.
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Hyndman is hopeful the pitch will be in “brilliant” condition by the time Premier League side Burnley arrive for a friendly on July 23.
The groundstaff’s normal summer schedule was altered last year, when Highbury staged Alfie Boe’s Homecoming concert in June and all Town’s pre-season fixtures were away.
This year Town will host the Clarets and Preston in their final warm-up games and Hyndman told the club website how preparations are going ahead of the players’ return to the revamped Poolfoot Farm pitches for training on June 26.
He said: “We are under tight deadlines to produce a surface, so we are trying to make it grow as quick as possible. It’s all guns blazing to get the pitches ready.
“We have the stadium but ultimately we have everything that is happening at the training ground, and that is where we are day-to-day.
“It’s a very similar process to what we do each year, even though there have been some slight tweaks due to how we feel the pitch performed.
“We stripped the turf and added over 150 tonnes of new material. We’ve added synthetic goalmouths – called hybrid carpets – like last season. We got some feedback from the keepers that they weren’t getting stability throughout the season.
“The hybrid carpet almost looks like astroturf. It’s five per cent artificial fibres. Your seeds and grass grow into the fibres to create a strong rooting system that gives instant stability.
“We’ve been able to get the surface up earlier than last season, so our main aim is to get it ready for Burnley and keep it up for the game against Preston North End on July 27.
“I’m fully confident that we have more than enough time to present a brilliant surface for both games.”
As for Poolfoot, he added: “We are just over two weeks from seed now and we’ve had a brilliant uptake.
“The weather has been brilliant for it – a mix of sun and rain – which has enabled us to get on with it earlier this year.
“We were cutting it after 10 days, which I would say is the best I’ve ever seen it.
“The contractors have done a really good job. My guys have been keen to get on there to start doing what we need to do to get it ready for the start of the season.
“We normally need eight weeks to grow a pitch. Each year the players seem to be coming back earlier and earlier, which has an effect on us.
“They go on the development pitches, which we take up early so the first team can come straight back on to the grass.”