RODNEY Parade will not host the Newport County AFC pre-season friendly matches against Carl Zeiss Jena and Coventry City, the club have confirmed.

The matches, on July 26 and July 29 respectively, are to be moved to the Exiles’ former home at Spytty Park.

The pitch at Rodney Parade has undergone extensive work this summer to eradicate the drainage problems that caused major headcahes last season.

It is not yet ready for matches to be played on it and the decision has been made to move the friendlies for the long-term benefit of the playing surface.

In a statement released today, County say: "Further to a meeting between Rodney Parade stadium manager Mark Jones and the agronomist (soil management and crop production) on Monday, and following a pitch inspection by Justin/Howard/and Mark Jones on Tuesday, while the pitch is playable, there are areas that are not as well established as others.

"It has therefore been decided, as a precautionary measure, that both the FC Carl Zeiss Jena and Coventry City FC home friendlies will not be played at Rodney Parade.

"The agronomist has stated in his report that the works undertaken on the pitch have been carried out successfully and have now been signed off as complete, it is with the best interests of all parties that the pitch is given more time and extra attention in order to ensure it is in the best possible condition for the season ahead.

"The Rodney Parade staff will be monitoring the pitch in the coming days and yesterday applied additional fertiliser in order to promote further growth.

"The FC Carl Zeiss Jena home game will now be played at Spytty Park on Saturday 26th July as originally scheduled.

"Tickets for both games will be back on sale once we have agreed the Spytty park capacity with the local authority, all tickets that have already been bought will be valid for both games.

"We will update you via the official website, Twitter and Facebook pages once they’re back on sale."

Meanwhile, a County development team featuring a handful of first team squad members was held to a 1-1 draw at Croesyceiliog tonight.

Kyle Patten, playing his first match for 16 months due to injury, marked his return to action with the opening goal before Gareth Willis levelled for Croesy in the first half.

The match was played as a celebration of the Welsh League Division Two side's 50th anniversary.

Development coach Mike Flynn posted on Twitter: "Tough battle for the development team. All the lads held their own in a physical battle. Well done."