Dave Saltman gives his monthly update on the state of the pitch and training facilitiesRecent poor weather has made life difficult for Town’s ground staff as they look to provide the best possible surface for Paul Hurst and his players.
Heavy rainfall has left training pitches out of use and the players have been forced to train on the main stadium pitch in order to get out on the grass.
Dave Saltman, Managing Director of Maxwell Amenity Limited admits that it has been a difficult time, but one they are managing
“At the beginning of January everything was good, the team were just training a little bit on the pitch over Christmas and the training ground was virtually ready”, Dave told ShrewsWeb.
“And then, about three weeks ago we reached field capacity, so in that respect the ground has reached its saturation point and it can’t take any more water.
“Unfortunately at the training ground the pitch is a little bit wet in places so we have stayed off that. The training pitch out at the back of the stadium has been used by the goalkeepers, but it’s too wet, so we have been limited really and the team have had to use the stadium pitch for training.
“I think we’ve had 15 or 16 training sessions on the pitch since the start of December and it is starting to show a little bit of wear through the middle, but it’s just one of those things that we’ve got to manage until the end of the season.”
Dave and his team are working closely with the management staff and players and they are keeping their fingers crossed for some better weather in the near future.
“We want to try and give the players no excuses by giving them a half decent surface to work on,” said Saltman.
“We want to try and help them as much as we can and last week they trained on the pitch on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. But, by the middle of the week the pitch in the middle was looking quite ragged and wet and we worked with the coaching staff to make sure they trained down the wings.
“Potentially, given the forecast we were getting on Friday night, we could have put the pitch in jeopardy for the Saturday, so it really is a fine balance at the moment.
“Hopefully, spring isn’t too far away. Two years ago it was 24 degrees on the 1st March, last year it was probably getting on towards June before we started getting those sorts of temperatures, so we will keep our fingers crossed that spring will come early this year.”
Meanwhile, out at the training ground the team are waiting for better weather in order to do some major work which should improve drainage in the future.
“There’s still one major operation to do there because we didn’t manage to finish the construction until mid-August and by the time we got the grass up to the stage that it would take this operation we were into the end of October and we felt it was too late in the year to do that”, Dave said.
“We’ve got sand slitting to do. That is secondary drainage and we would run sand slits to the depth of about nine inches and fill with sand at about 200mm wide space’s and they bypass the drainage at 90 degrees so that would connect the surface directly to the drainage.
“It would be ideal if we could get on there now, but with heavy machinery and about 400 tonnes of sand we are going to struggle with machines to get on.
“The training ground really needs to be open for use all year round and that’s the whole purpose of it. Once we’ve got this secondary drainage in then all being well we will be able to keep that in good shape for the whole season.”