Portsmouth's Fratton Park 'good to go' for Birmingham cup visit after installation of new floodlights and playing surface
Fratton Park is ‘good to go’ as Pompey prepare to host their first game of the 2019-20 season.
That’s the message from chief executive Mark Catlin ahead of the Blues’ Carabao Cup match against Birmingham tonight.
The Sky Sports-televised game will be the first time Fratton Park will be in use by Kenny Jackett’s side since the play-off semi-final draw against Sunderland on May 16.
Since then major refurbishment work has been taking place at Pompey’s 120-year-old home.
A costly new semi-artificial playing surface has been laid to bring the playing surface in line with a lot of Championship and Premier League clubs.
Meanwhile, the club's iconic 57-year-old floodlights were removed in June, with new lighting placed on the roof of the South Stand.
A mix of LED and halogen bulbs on eight purposely-built columns, the modern floodlights adhere to EFL requirements and take into account any potential need for VAR.
Such work has been carried out alongside the renovation of the South Stand roof and improvements to cladding at the back of the structure that began in March.
Alterations to the Milton End have also been undertaken, while Pompey also submitted an application to Portsmouth City Council for the construction of a new-look television gantry on the South Stand which should be in place for the start of the 2020-21 season.
Catlin confirmed work on the above-mentioned will be ongoing as owners Tornante continue to invest in the stadium.
But he said the new playing surface and floodlights were ready and waiting to host the Blues’ first-round Carabao Cup clash against Championship Birmingham.
Catlin told The News: ‘A lot of work has gone on over the summer – and it’s all ready and good to go for tonight.
‘The floodlights are all set to go.
‘I’m looking forward to that. They look amazing all lit up and I can’t wait for that.
‘The pitch is looking good, too.
‘The old girl has had a bit of a spring clean, actually, quite a lot more than that during the summer, and over the coming weeks there’s still a lot of finishing off to do.
‘There’s still quite a lot of work that’s going to be carried on in terms of finishing off all the lights and finishing of touches over the next few weeks just to get it done and looking as good as it can be for the rest of the season.
‘But the bulk of the work over the summer has been done.
‘I think we’ve got most of the big, heavy-duty work done – fantastic work carried out by everyone associated with the club – and I’m hoping fans can see some differences when they arrive at the stadium.’