New training facilities

Wigan Athletic players will be greeted to plush new training pitches this week as they begin preparations for the new season.

Following the 360,000 redevelopment of the JJB Stadium pitch, intensive work has just finished at Christopher Park ahead of the players' return to action this Thursday.

Steve Bruce and his squad were forced to use the JJB Soccerdome last season after his arrival last winter due to heavy waterlogging.

He said: "It's not ideal when you can't even get out on your own training ground in preparation for matches.

"We've needed to get the training ground done to give us the best chance."

The upgrade couldn't come quick enough for the players.

Midfield enforcer Michael Brown said: "You want to look forward to come and training on decent pitches every day.

"The club is moving forward all the time and developing. I've played at some decent facilities at Tottenham and Man City.

"It's nice to be able to get out there rather than be stuck inside."

Latics head groundsman Ian Forshaw has overseen the work in conjunction with the refurbishment at the JJB.

He said: "I understand the demands of the manager and the players – they are very high.

"We have given them a decent enough surface to play on – that's what it's all about.

Click next page for more ..."It's an improvement over the last three years. We've done something every year.

"The whole area at Christopher Park covers 23,000 square metres.

"We've got five pitches and three are fully irrigated, sand-banded and drained.

"The other two are drained and sand-banded — there just need irrigation putting in them at some point in the future.

"The work started four weeks ago. We've scarified through and we've put some sand-banding into it to help with the top drainage.

"The waterlog problem has been through top compaction. The sand-banding will relieve it.

"We've put it down six inches of sand into slits. You have to put sand down yearly to help it.

"The water will now be able to get down to the drains which were installed a few years ago.

"We didn't got to the extent of what we did at the JJB Stadium. Ideally it would have been great to have dug down and to have done what we did at the JJB.

"But with the cost and time we just wouldn't have been able to have done it."

Forshaw says there won't be as many problems encountered at the training ground and the product they've used will come in handy before Latics' first home game of the season against Chelsea on August 23.

"The pitches are in open daylight which helps a lot - that is an ideal condition," said Forshaw.

"We've used 100 per cent ryegrass which we will be over-seeding the stadium with in August.

"The one we've used at the stadium is 80 per cent ryegrass and 20 per cent fescues, which grow sideways and come out with wear and tear.

"We will need to over-seed it in the winter months to help with roots."


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