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Pitch Perfect


10:00 24th May 2013

Resurfacing work underway

The playing surface at Molineux has an unfamiliar look to it this week as the Wolves groundstaff begin in earnest the task of getting the pitch ready for the start of the new season.

Deputy Head Groundsman Paul Matthew is one of those overseeing the resurfacing work at both Molineux and Wolves' Compton Park training ground (pictured).

"What's happening at the moment is a normal renovation process - we do it every year," Paul explains. "It's a common modern renovation of a top class sports surface.

"We begin by taking around half an inch, or 13mm, off the surface, then we remove all vegetation and the crowns of the grass until it's back to the fibrelastic - which is a pitch reinforcement material that is commonly used."

The process began on Monday and Paul, who joined the Wolves groundstaff from Glasgow Rangers in his native Scotland two seasons ago, is currently working on the next phase of the project.

"Once the pitch is stripped right back to its original spec, the power harrow comes in, then we'll bring about 80 tonnes of fresh fibrelastic which will be raked in. Once the stone raker has done its job and we're happy with the levels, we'll go onto the seed phase."

That process will see seed planted at Molineux and one of the Compton pitches, with both surfaces then subject to the same cutting process to ensure that the first team training pitch replicates the Molineux surface as closely as possible.

Paul continues: "We use a eight-twelve-eight pre-seed which allows the grass to put roots down, then we'll go through the process of letting the grass come up and use a rotary cutter until we're happy.

"We'll then use a cylinder mower to establish the grass and help thicken it up."

Paul and his colleagues will be working throughout the summer to deliver an immaculate playing surface in time for Wolves' opening home fixture of the next campaign, and he says they would be delighted to produce a similar standard of pitch as last season.

"We were absolutely delighted with the way the pitch held up last season," he says. "It wasn't a very good year in terms of weather, and then when Dean Saunders came in, he was very keen on using the pitch after games to maintain the players' peak fitness levels, so we had things that don't normally happen to contend with.

"But everyone that came to see the pitch at Molineux complimented us on it, and we thought it held up fantastically well - so much so that we were disappointed to learn that we hadn't been nominated for the Championship Pitch of the Year - instead we were ranked fifth out of the 24 clubs."

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