Summer Fratton Park work poised to force Portsmouth into 2019-20 fixture plea

Pompey are poised to request their 2019-20 campaign kicks off with an away fixture.

By neil.allen1
Tuesday, 7th May 2019, 6:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th May 2019, 7:15 pm

Scheduled summer improvements to Fratton Park have been delayed by a fortnight following qualification for the League One play-offs.

Essential work to the Blues’ 120-year-old home is lined up, in addition to improving the playing surface.

However, the altered timetable will impact on the club’s ability to host the opening round of Football League matches on Saturday, August 3.

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And Mark Catlin is ready to explore with the Football League the possibility of Pompey playing away on the opening day, irrespective of their league.

The Blues’ chief executive said: ‘The play-offs have delayed Fratton Park work by a couple of weeks. Unfortunately it can’t be helped, we've just got to deal with it.

‘As it stands at this moment, our thinking is we will apply to have our first game of the season away from Fratton Park.

Checkatrade Trophy FINAL - Sunderland v Portsmouth - 31/03/19 Dressing room after the match - Portsmouth’s Chief Executive Mark Catlin

‘Also, the chance of a friendly at Fratton Park – due to the play-offs and work that’s planned – looks very challenging, to say the least.

‘Not only are we looking at carrying out work on the stadium during the close season, but on the pitch as well.

‘There are some quite major projects which we’re looking to start as soon as the final game of the season ends, followed by community and commercial obligations we have to adhere to so.

‘Once that is done, hopefully we can start some of the work in preparation for the future.

‘We have never commented on any work until the plans have been approved and sanctioned. We actually have the contractors pretty much in their lorries ready to come in and start.

‘We are not going to break with that tradition by either giving a timescale or what we are hoping to do.’

This is in line with planned summer work, which also includes alterations to the Milton End and the potential removal of the remaining three floodlights.

Meanwhile, the Fratton Park pitch is also undergoing an overhaul.

Catlin added: ‘We have invested into the pitch during each of the last six years – and it is coming around again where it needs some major refurbishment.

‘There is significant investment going on the pitch this summer.’