Pitching in to help with playing style

jpco-21-11-12 Alan Williams CEO Crawley Town FC  (Pic by Jon Rigby)
jpco-21-11-12 Alan Williams CEO Crawley Town FC (Pic by Jon Rigby)

Crawley Town are set to carry out emergency work on the Broadfield Stadium pitch.

The playing surface, scarred by divots, has suffered after the UK’s wettest summer since 1912, and has faced criticism from Reds manager Richie Barker, who says his side’s playing style is suffering as a result.

And now, Crawley are taking steps and investment to improve the pitch ahead of Sheffield United’s visit on December 22.

A ‘deep core verti drain’ will be carried out, which aerates the grass roots and relieves compacted soil. The club has invested in 40 tonnes of sand and dressing for the pitch which will then be flattened with a heavy roller.

Chief executive Alan Williams said: “There is nothing that can be done until the end of the season, other than try to strengthen the pitch and that’s what we are doing for the next game.

“It’s well documented we have a problem with root growth in some areas. The work we have done in the summer has been in vain. We can do no more than we are in the next couple of weeks.

“We will get to the end of the season where we will have to do some serious refurbishment in the summer.”

The estimated cost of relaying a football pitch from scratch is around £100,000.

Manager Barker said after Saturday’s draw 2-2 against Shrewsbury: “I said to the players I feel for them. I don’t enjoy watching them play on it, never mind them enjoy playing on it.

“They have earned the right to play in the third tier of English football and I’m trying to produce technically gifted players.

“And people can shout all they like about needing to pass it more, but until you have gone out and had a go on it you have no chance.”

Meanwhile, Reds sold 1,000 tickets for their FA Cup Third Round tie against Reading on the first day of sale to season ticket holders yesterday, general ticket sales start today (Wednesday).