NEWPORT County AFC say work is due to begin on the Rodney Parade pitch this week, writes Andrew Penman.
The £80,000 drainage improvement project, organised and paid for by County, was only partly completed last summer.
The plan was to install improved drainage along with a Dragons-funded £40,000 irrigation scheme. The latter was completed but contractors ran out of time to complete the former.
The main drainage channels running the length of the pitch were put in place but the sand and gravel slits that run across the pitch and tie the whole system together were only in place from the changing rooms end up to halfway.
That left the northern end of the pitch – traditionally the most troublesome end – at risk of flooding and it was that end that suffered so badly during one of the wettest winters on record.
County saw six home matches postponed in December, January and February and large parts of the northern end of the pitch have been covered in sand since then, making life difficult for Justin Edinburgh’s men.
As reported last week, work was delayed from May 12 but the club has now confirmed that it will get under way this week.
A statement from the club reads: “Drainage works to the Rodney Parade pitch have commenced by excavating trial holes, as agreed with the Football League recommended appointed agronomist STRI.
“This will determine the condition of the lateral drains previously installed by Phil Day Sports, at locations where Rodney Parade made temporary connections to during the bad weather last winter.
“The findings of these trial holes have been forwarded in a report to Rodney Parade and the appointed agronomist and we are awaiting confirmation of the remedial works required to repair the drains prior to commencing works this week.
“The works will take approximately one week to complete subject to the weather and all works completed will be subject to inspection by an independent agronomist.”
Edinburgh is hopeful that the work will be completed on schedule he doesn’t expect a repeat of last season’s problems.
“Getting the pitch right is key,” said the Exiles boss. “I’ll argue until I’m blue in the face that the problems we had with the surface killed our momentum last season.
“The club is doing everything in its power to make it right and that will be our best signing of the summer.”