No end in sight to DW pitch battle says Malky

Emmerson Boyce on the DW pitch on Tuesday night
Emmerson Boyce on the DW pitch on Tuesday night

MALKY Mackay admits he can’t see an end to the pitch problems at the DW Stadium.

The playing surface has taken a battering in recent days, with three matches in the space of four days – two football and one rugby league – and seasonal bad weather thrown in for good measure.

Our ground staff work as hard as they can, but the surface is the surface we’ve got

Malky Mackay

Against Cardiff on Tuesday night, James McClean saw one run into the area thwarted by a bobble, the look on the Irishman’s face as the ball ran out for a goal-kick summing up the situation to a tee.

And now the Warriors’ Super League campaign is back up and running, the Scot predicts more trouble in the run-in to the end of the Championship season.

“It is an issue for us,” acknowledged Mackay.

“Our ground staff work as hard as they can, but the surface is the surface we’ve got.

“Unfortunately it’s coming up in lumps in parts, and you see the effects week in, week out with the ball bouncing over a player’s foot.

“Now the rugby’s started, I don’t think the situation is going to get any better.

“But there’s no point making excuses about it. It’s something we’ve got to get on with and deal with it.

“It would be lovely to have a bowling green there, but it’s not.

“We’ve just got to do our best – and our ground staff are doing their best, they really are – but with two sports being played now we’re going to have to handle it as best we can.”

Sharing a stadium is not a new experience for Mackay.

“It’s a situation I had during my time at Watford, when we had Saracens using the pitch, and it took a real beating,” the Latics chief revealed.

“The middle part of the pitch was shocking, we’d keep an eye on the weather, and how heavy the pitch was.

“If it was cutting up we’d have to play to a wider area and look at different parts of the pitch.

“It’s not easy for a chairman or an owner at the start of the season to write a big cheque for a bit of grass.

“But at the same time, the long-term effect of that can have an effect on the team as well.

“It really depends on clubs’ finances. If clubs can’t afford to do it, they can’t afford to do it.

“If they have a choice between keeping the lights on and putting down a good surface, what do you do?

“You keep the lights on and you keep the club going.

“I’m not going to criticise anybody’s pitch because it’s about keeping clubs going.

“But without doubt the more money you put into your pitch the better it is.”

The situation is also having an effect on the Warriors, with prop Tony Clubb still feeling the effects of Saturday’s World Club Series clash against Brisbane.

“I’m still sore now, four days later!” Clubb acknowledged. “I’ve had to do extra recovery. It’s more so my calves from the pitch. It wasn’t the best to play on – we’re away from it for a bit now so hopefully they can get it right.”

Latics are next at home on March 7 –against Leeds– and Warriors are back at the DW six days later.