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PITCH: Work underway

20 May 2014

Work underway on the Brunton Park pitch

With the last game of the season now a distant memory the focus for stadium manager Dave Mitchell and his team of staff is to set about the playing surface and training pitches to make sure everything is in place when the squad gets back together for pre-season training at the start of July. 

"We had one of the wettest winter's on record so it has been difficult to maintain the pitches throughout the season," Dave explained. "It wasn't too bad here compared to normal but it was consistently wet which meant we had to battle away throughout the winter. 

"Last year we took about 20mm off the top of the pitch. That got rid of the organic waste and the dead grass on the top of the pitch which builds up over the season. We took all of that off and turned it over before we added the fresh seeds. We're half way through a cycle so we won't do that this year. 

"This year we'll scrape off about 10mm of rubbish off the top. After that we'll put 30 tonnes of sand on top. We'll use a machine which makes millions of holes about an inch and a half deep to make sure the sand gets down into the pitch. After that we'll reseed it and tidy it up around the edges. The edges are the awkward bit because we have to work around the sprinklers and the edging board. 

"We'll then seed it and fertilise it then, ironically, put loads of water on it. Hopefully then it starts to grow and we'll be ready for the first friendly. If the weather is good then the main work should be finished this week but we're working on the other pitches at the same time so it's a case of fitting everything in. 

"It looks like we might get showers after today, that doesn't really matter for the main pitch because it dries in five minutes, but the other pitches get very wet. That can make it difficult to get the sand down and things like that because it all gets damp, so it's a case of working around things like that to get the benefits for all of the pitches."

"The training pitch has always been an issue since it was constructed but it is slowly improving," he said. "We've dug another 16 trenches in that area which gives us 33 in all so we are getting there. 

"We want to try and take away as much of the training away from the main pitch to enable us to get it back up to the standard it was at last season. That means we need the training pitch to be as good as possible. 

"We've been digging on there for the last couple of weeks and we've taken out some of the really bad bits, it isn't good on there but it is improving. We've focused on the training pitch more than normal this year so we can try and take some of the wear and tear off the main pitch which comes with the lads training on it."

"We'll just shave off the dead organic matter off the top of the pitch at Creighton but we'll leave the roots in," he continued. "That will just regrow as grass, there's no irrigation system up there so the only water that the pitch gets is rain. From past experience if you take too much off it and don't get enough rain then there isn't any grass on it on the first day of pre season. We have to be careful up there, we have to keep a bit of the rubbish if you like, so we can make sure that it improves bit by bit. 

"We'll also be doing other little bits of stadium maintenance throughout the close season. All of the groundboards will need to be looked at and repositioned due to changes in sponsorship and things like that. The paintwork is never ending and we're always trying to tidy it up and try and freshen things up. We've got leaks and doors to sort out, those things all come with having an old stadium, so although we try and get caught up we never do because it just goes on and on. 

United Player subscribers can see a video interview with Dave Mitchell now. Click HERE to go to the Player platform. Follow the same link for more information on United Player, and to subscribe.

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