WIGAN Athletic’s ground staff this morning began the task of re-laying the playing surface at the DW Stadium.
Around 3,000 square metres of fresh turf has been brought in to replace the parts of the pitch that were destroyed by the awful weather during the winter.
The final straw was the torrential rain before, during and after the recent home game against Blackburn, and chairman Dave Whelan has decided enough is enough.
The bulldozers moved in straight after last night’s clash against Bolton, and the work should be finished by Sunday evening – almost a week before next Saturday’s visit of Manchester United.
“The pitch has been a real problem, as we saw again last night,” Roberto Martinez told the Evening Post.
“The ground staff have tried everything, but it’s been a bigger problem than we thought.
“We desperately need to relay the pitch, and we’ve decided to do it at once to make sure we have a proper pitch for the Manchester United game.
“The way we play, a bad pitch doesn’t do us any favours – we need the kind of pitch we saw at Anfield last week.
“And this little gap in the fixture list means it’s the ideal time to do it.
“We believe that, with the amount of work we need to do and the expertise of the people involved, it’ll be in great condition for first thing Monday morning.”
The Wigan boss also refused to be too downbeat after seeing Ivan Klasnic’s goal at the three-quarter mark settle a closely-contested FA Cup fourth-round replay.
“It’s not a night to be too disappointed,” he admitted.
“We wanted to go through to the fifth round for the first time in 24 years, but our season will be defined over what happens over the next 11 league matches.”
Apart from the result, the biggest negative for Latics was the first-half withdrawal of young striker Callum McManaman following an unfortunate clash between his face and the boot of Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba.
McManaman became the second Latics player this season to be helped off following an unsavoury challenge from Muamba – following in the footsteps of James McCarthy – and required 10 stitches to an ugly wound just before the interval.
“We wanted to keep Callum on the field, even if it took as long as five or six minutes to get him patched up and back on,” Martinez added.
“But the cut was so big that it would have been impossible to do so, and we had to make the decision to keep him off.
“It was a real shame, because he was looking very lively and it was just the kind of game that was made for Callum to make an impact.”