With the last game of the season now a distant memory the focus for groundsman Dave Mitchell 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 end of June.
Dave picked up yet another ‘highly commended’ award from the Football League this season as the quality of his pitch continues to impress through what are often difficult weather conditions.
With work started yesterday [Monday] on the main Brunton Park pitch, and the training pitches at Brunton Park and Creighton Rugby Club to follow, we caught up with the Blues' groundsman to talk about what will happen to the pitch over the course of the next few weeks.
"We’re taking about 10mm off the top of the pitch which will basically remove the majority of the vegetation [grass] as well as the organic rubbish that has built up over the last two seasons," Dave explained.
“That will clean it all up, and we’ll obviously work around the sprinklers and the holes for the goalposts, which can be slightly awkward to get at.
“We’ll then spread 58 tonnes of sand on top of that, before we use a ProCore machine, which is the machine we would use pre-match if we were forecast a lot of rain to make sure there are enough drainage holes in the pitch.
“When we use that machine, if we get a fine day like today, the idea is that the sand vibrates itself down the holes the machine creates, which creates drainage channels. Once we’ve done that, we’ll level it with the drag mat and brushes, before the lads seed it and finish it off.”
“The idea is to clean off the rubbish that builds up at the top of the pitch,” he added. “When the top layer is taken off it smells like the seaside, and that’s just everything that shouldn’t be in there getting taken out. Once the work is done everything will be cleaner, and the drainage will be better, which makes maintaining it much easier.
“If the weather plays ball, we hope to have the work completed by the end of the week. We’ll be putting a little bit of sand and seed on the training pitch at Brunton Park, and a little bit of sand on the pitch up at Creighton to maintain those pitches as well.
“If we get the work finished this week, it gives us just under seven weeks before the first home friendly on 9 July for it to grow and be ready for a match.”