THE WORK to complete the improved drainage and irrigation system at Rodney Parade should be finished by next Wednesday.

As reported in the Argus, Phil Day Sports returned to Rodney Parade yesterday, to begin completing the work started last summer.

And indeed, so keen are the Exiles and the powerbrokers at Rodney Parade Ltd to ensure no hiccups, they’ve employed a specialist project manager to oversee the work.

The Sports Turf Research Institute will be making frequent visits to Newport to supervise the work done by contractors Phil Day Sports, scheduled to be completed by Wednesday, subject to the weather.

STRI – who describe themselves as “the world's leading consultancy for design, research and management of natural and artificial sports surfaces” – have already done an assessment.

That was paid for by Newport County and they will be employed by Rodney Parade Ltd to manage the completion of the scheme, which intends to ensure that rainfall will not travel more than 12 inches to a drain.

A statement on the County website explained: “Following on from yesterday's story with regards to the pitch at Rodney Parade, the report from the independent agronomist has highlighted the remedial work required for the necessary pitch improvements.

“Work will begin early on Thursday 22nd May at Rodney Parade with the initial gravel slits being put in place on the section of the ground that was unable to be upgraded last season. Work will then continue on the pitch in readiness for the FC Carl Zeiss Jena game on Saturday July 26th.”

County chief executive Dave Boddy is happy with the news, but admits he has had a wry laugh after Newport was hit with torrential rain, thunder, lightning and hail stones yesterday.

“Work has begun, despite the absolutely horrendous weather that followed a week of sunshine,” he said.

“The weather isn’t a factor at the moment and unless we have monsoons or some sort of weather disaster, the work is scheduled to be finished next week, hopefully by Wednesday.”