The pitches at Highbury and Poolfoot Farm have been through a lot over the last 12 months and our grounds staff have been hard at work to get them ready to go ahead of the 2019/20 season.
Fleetwood Town’s Head Groundsman Nick Hyndman has given us an update on what his staff have been up to over the last couple of weeks – and what they are looking to do to get everything ready for them the players return from their summer breaks.
The turf at Highbury is really coming together, and the grounds at Poolfoot almost look ready to go and Nick is happy with the progress made so far.
In an interview with the club, here is what he had to say about the job at hand…
On what has been done – and what is next – for the pitches…
“We’ve just been waiting for the grass to start growing really. It normally takes about six to nine days to start coming through. We’ve had a good uptake this year as we’ve started to see grass after just six days so, with that, we start working with our fertilizer programs. We’ve sprayed the turf to make it as healthy as possible. We are under tight deadlines to produce a surface, so we are trying to make it grow as quick as possible.
“Now, we have got our fertilizer programs in place so it's working with that really. It’s all guns blazing to get the pitches ready. Like we say, we have the stadium but ultimately, we have everything that is happening at the training ground and that is where we are day-to-day.”
On the processes, the grounds team has gone through so far…
“It’s a very similar process to what we do each year even though there have been some slight tweaks due to how we feel the pitch performed. We stripped the turf and we’ve added over 150 tonnes of new material to the stadium. We’ve also added synthetic goal mouths – called a hybrid carpets – like last season, we got some feedback from the keepers that they weren’t getting the stability throughout the season.
“The hybrid carpet is 45m2, and almost looks like astroturf. It’s five per cent artificial fibres so what happens is, your seeds and grass grow into the fibres, it knits round them and creates a strong rooting system that gives instant stability so hopefully, we get some good results from that.
“We’ve been able to get the surface up earlier than we did last season, so our main aim is to get it ready for our friendly against Burnley on 23rd July, and keep it up for the game against Preston [North End] on the 27th. I’m fully confident that we have more than enough time to present a brilliant surface for both of those games.”
On how Poolfoot has come along over the last couple of weeks…
“We are just over two weeks from seed now and we’ve had a brilliant uptake here. The weather has been brilliant for it – a mix of sun and rain – which has enabled us to get on with it earlier this year. We were cutting it after ten days, which I would say is the best I’ve ever seen it. The contractors have shown that they have done a really good job, my guys have been keen to get on there to start doing what we need to do to get it ready for the start of the season.
“We normally need eight weeks to grow a pitch in so by the time the squad normally finish their season, so we take the development pitch up early. We take that up around the end of April, so the first team can come straight back onto the grass. Each year, the players seem to be coming back earlier and earlier which has an effect on us. When they come back, they go on the development pitches at the start of pre-season, and then they get onto the elite pitches when they come back from the pre-season tour.”