Wigan Athletic CEO on pitch predicament

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Mal Brannigan is confident the playing surface at the DW Stadium will hold up to scrutiny during Wigan Athletic's final push for promotion.

Tuesday's game against Accrington was the second of four home games in the space of 21 days for Latics.

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Warriors' clash with Hull FC last Thursday was their fifth of six home games crammed into just two months, to allow for the annual maintenance in May and June.

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Annual pitch maintenance taking place at the DW StadiumAnnual pitch maintenance taking place at the DW Stadium
Annual pitch maintenance taking place at the DW Stadium

That critical work on the pitch was neglected during administration in the summer of 2020, which resulted in the surface - despite the best efforts of ground staff - showing visible signs of damage well before the midway point of last term.

This season, with the annual maintenance having resumed last summer, the surface has lasted longer before the effects of wear and tear began to kick in.

Brannigan says the situation will be gradually put right over the coming years - and is not concerned about any effect on Leam Richardson's side over the next month.

"Unfortunately, there was a period during administration when there wasn't any maintenance done on the pitch whatsoever," he told Wigan Today.

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"Now if you're dealing with purely football or purely rugby, you have a long period during the off-season to repair the pitch and renovate it as effectively as possible.

"Obviously with our arrangement, the window of opportunity to get that work done is rather more limited in comparison to one-sport stadia.

"We've had five rugby games this season, and we're coming up to what will obviously be a very important period of the season for us.

"I have to say the ground staff, and the contractors, work as hard as they can during that short period of time to make the playing surface as good as possible.

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"They're working like trojans to do that, but we're not in a growing season as yet, we're just about to come into that.

"We've used the lighting system quite extensively over the winter period, and we're now getting longer days regarding daylight.

"That will hopefully mean we'll see the pitch coming good again - ironically just as we then plan to dig it up to do the annual maintenance!

"Looking longer term, there's a certain amount of repairs and renovation we can do which will bring the pitch back to what it was pre-administration.

"Unfortunately it can't all be done in one go, because of the damage that was done when there was no renovation done to it."