Carlisle boss Chris Beech admitted that recent weather conditions have made training a challenge with the pitch at the stadium spending most of its time under water.
Speaking to the press on Thursday afternoon, at the excellent Penrith Rugby Club facility, he said: “This is another fantastic relationship that we’ve built up and we’re really thankful that they allow us to use it.
“It’s a really good 4G facility, one of the best in the area, so we’re utilising what we can at the moment. If you speak to any lower league club at this time of the year, irrelevant of whether they’ve got a swimming pool just outside the ground or not, they’ll tell you that they’re training on basic 4G.
“The players do prefer grass, obviously, but if you can’t get on a good grass area, sometimes you’re better on 4G. In terms of the argument of whether or not the game should be played on that kind of surface, I’d suggest not at professional standards, because it is different.
“Even the best of these surfaces in the business, they are different to natural twisting and turning. You do get used to it. Players will often not be too happy if they’re constantly on a surface like that, but your body does adjust to what you’re doing.
“Marathon runners run every day on concrete, and they adjust. If you’re on it full-time your body would adjust to that, but for the good of the game, I would personally prefer to play on grass pitches. They have these pitches with mixtures of grass / plastic type materials now. I’d stick to that, if we could.”
Speaking in particular about how difficult putting together a training schedule has been, with one storm seeming to follow another, he commented: “It can be disruptive, but we’ve been alright.
“We’ve got the Neil Centre, but the surface is heavily used, it’s not quite as good as the surface here at Penrith. We’ve been doing a bit of that, I’ve phoned up a lot of people to try and get a few favours, some grass pitches, some of the really big, established football clubs, but at the moment they’re struggling as well.
“I’m thankful we got on our pitch before Morecambe for 90 minutes last Tuesday. But we can’t keep using that because then it’s not right for matchday. I suppose it’s like if somebody keeps moving your microphone when you try to interview people, or your computer when you have to fill in an email.
“You’ll find a way when that happens. We have to do that as a football team. You just have to remove any sort of discrepancy that can get in the way of preparation. We remove all excuses.”
And with an update on the injured players, he told us: “Nathan Thomas had an injury quite a while ago, when he was at Sunderland, a long time ago, in his ankle. He’s got a bit of a metal plate type fixing in there.
“He got a knock on it early doors against Morecambe, tried to carry on, and at half-time he wanted to have a little go second half, but early on you could see he wasn’t correct, so it was the right thing to bring him off.
“With a bit of luck he’ll be ready for Saturday, but we’ll see. He’s not done too much this week on the football pitch, he’s been doing his rehab. As we grow towards Saturday’s fixture there’s always 48 hours left where we can look to utilise to the best of our abilities.
“Josh Kayode actually trained here last week. He’s been on the grass which is really good news. But with a hamstring, and him being so young and not knowing his body too much, he’s never experienced anything like this before, so it’s a shame really.
“The good thing is that he’ll be back, providing the last phase of his rehab goes to plan. He’s on the grass with a football now, it’s just a case of when we step up to that last part of his rehab.”
And on Callum Guy, he told us: “I tried to get hold of him yesterday and he didn’t ring me back, so he’s enjoying himself somewhere.
“I’ve been in contact with Callum, he’s in a brace at the moment, he’s basically stuck, can’t really drive or do anything like that. It’s just rest and recuperation at the moment.
“It was the right thing to do in terms of the outcome of the surgeon. It’s just a case of letting natural healing time take care of itself.”
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