Dave Saltman looks ahead to a busy summer for the ground staffThe season may have come to an end and the players will soon by jetting off for hotter climbs, but for Shrewsbury Town’s groundsmen the work doesn’t stop.
With a full pitch renovation set to take place, the Rod Stewart Concert to contend with and work continuing at the new training ground - the summer is expected to be a busy one for the ground staff.
Dave Saltman, Managing Director of Maxwell Amenity Ltd, spoke to ShrewsWeb about the plans for the next couple of months.
“We’ve got another week of corporate games, Shropshire FA games, community games and then from Wednesday next week we can get in and start working on the pitches”, Dave said.
“The stadium pitch we are turning over this year. We are stripping all of the vegetation out and adding some fibre sand into the surface and then cultivating the ground and regrading it, which will give us a really good head of rye grass going into next season.
“The training pitch out the back we will be scarifying, verti-draining, seeding and fertilising it and then we are going to sand-band it. So, we are going to put secondary drainage into the training pitch at the back of the stadium behind the Salop Leisure Stand in June.
“And then, we’ve got the training ground where obviously we’ve already got a good head of grass. It hasn’t been used yet, but we managed to get the sand-banding and the secondary drainage done about three or four weeks ago now and the grounds really dried up, so hopefully it will be ready for preseason training when the players return.”
The pitch took a real battering from the elements during January and February, but Dave is pleased with how it played over the course of the season.
“Generally we are very pleased with how the pitch played”, admitted Saltman.
“The pitch was very good right up until the end of January. Unfortunately, because it was very wet through the winter and we were running out of places for the players to train, we had to let the players use the stadium pitch and I think we’ve had something like 30 training sessions on it since December 27th.
“So, the pitch did start looking a bit tired through the middle towards the end of February, but Richard and Charlie (Ground Staff) worked really well. We got the pitch covered in the middle and over-sown, and we’ve been verti-draining every week and the pitch came back very well, so we finished the season strongly.”
Town won Pitch of the Year in 2016 and Dave is hopeful that the full renovation of the pitch will allow them to be back in the running next season.
“With the training ground hopefully up in use right through next winter and with the players not having to train on the pitch then there’s every possibility that we will have a top three pitch again.”
Meanwhile, Dave is currently in discussions with Paul Hurst about the size of the pitch next season.