Shrewsbury Town’s Ground Staff are hard at work to ensure that the stadium surface will be ready for the first home pre-season friendly against Aston Villa on 15th July.
The pitch has undergone a full renovation this summer, but with the Rod Stewart concert having taken place earlier this month there are some areas of the pitch which require further attention.
“Rod Stewart was interesting”, smiled Dave.
“We’ve ended up with the bottom quarter of the pitch, which was the stage area, having most of the grass die because of the length of the time the flooring was down.
“We ended up with the staging coming up on the Saturday (10th June) and our lads were in there early on the Sunday morning and we basically renovated the whole bottom end of the pitch again.
“We also had a number of areas where the spectator flooring had failed and we had to renovate those areas as well.”
The issues with the pitch are far from ideal at this time of the season, but Dave is hopeful that the good weather of recent weeks has helped their cause.
“We have got what we’ve got”, admitted Saltman.
“We have been blessed with some very good weather over the last few weeks and the grass at the bottom end is now starting to come through.
“When we did the renovations we liquid-fed the whole pitch and we also put some stimulants on to help bulk up the plant and give it the best possible chance.
“We are doing everything we can. We have got plenty of water here with the irrigation, so if the weather stays fairly warm and we get a bit of natural rain as well then the pitch will look at least green.”
“I think we have to accept that there will be some damage down at the north end for the first few games but we’ve just got to deal with it and hopefully we will get some growth and recovery and once we get to the start of the season the pitch will settle down.”
With Town’s first game of the League One season also at home it will be a busy few weeks for Town’s groundsmen, but Dave is pleased with how the season looks as a whole.
“From the seed going in the ground it was actually four weeks and six days before we play our first pre-season game”, Dave continued.
“Then we’ve got that on the 15th and then we’ve got the 22nd, 25th and 29th for pre-season games and then followed immediately on the following Saturday with the opening game against Northampton Town, so it’s not easy, but I love a challenge.
“Overall, it actually looks like quite a good fixture list. It gives us Christmas Day off which is nice. It’s nice to see a game back on New Year’s Day as well and the rest of it seems to be well stretched out, so subject to cup competitions I am very happy with how the fixtures look at the moment.”