Catlin has no pitch concerns over early Pompey schedule

Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin
  • First two Pompey matches of campaign will take place at Fratton Park
  • Blues have relaid their problem pitch over successive summers

The NEW Fratton Park playing surface will be able to cope with Pompey’s early-season fixtures.

That is chief executive Mark Catlin’s reassurance, despite the Blues booked to host their first two matches of the 2015-16 campaign.

All clubs across the country with new playing surfaces feel exactly the same, not just us. You want that little longer to bed in

Mark Catlin

Pompey had lodged a request with the Football League for their opening fixture to be played away.

That was to provide the new Fratton pitch with more time to bed in.

Regardless, Paul Cook’s men will entertain Dagenham & Redbridge on August 8 in their League Two opener.

Days later, in a date still to be finalised, they will also host Derby County in the Capital One Cup.

It will put early pressure on the new playing surface.

But Catlin insists it will be able to stand up to the rigours.

He said: ‘There are no concerns whatsoever about the pitch, it will be ready for the start of the season.

‘The work has been done and all within the timescale, but in an ideal world we would want as long as possible for the grass to take root.

‘All clubs across the country with new playing surfaces feel exactly the same, not just us. You want that little longer to bed in.

‘We had requested our first game of the season to be away, but the Football League couldn’t accommodate it.

‘The Capital One Cup is a pure draw, so that option wasn’t open to us. Besides, we are glad to have such an attractive fixture at home in mid-week.

‘Those matches should not have any effect on the pitch, but it would have given us an extra week.

‘However, the work is done and the pitch will be fine.’