Mark Catlin: New Portsmouth pitch will bring us in line with the Premier League

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Fratton Park’s new playing surface will bring Pompey in line with Premier League clubs.

That is the message from Mark Catlin, with work well underway relaying the Blues’ existing grass pitch.

League One -  Southend United v Portsmouth - 16/02/19'Portsmouths Chief Executive Mark Catlin

League One - Southend United v Portsmouth - 16/02/19'Portsmouths Chief Executive Mark Catlin

Pompey are introducing a semi-artificial playing surface, commonly found among clubs from the top-two divisions.

And the chief executive believes the ‘very costly’ process will benefit the club.

Catlin said: ‘We are bringing our playing surface in line with a lot of Championship and Premier League clubs by laying a semi-artificial carpet pitch.

‘It has become the industry standard and is a very costly process, requiring substantial investment.

‘Previously we had purely a natural pitch, yet this procedure effectively lays a carpet which sits underneath the main topsoil and intertwines with the grass to hold it in place.

‘In addition, where possible, we are not carrying out a full drainage reconstruction, instead addressing areas of the pitch which require drainage attention.

‘The semi-artificial pitch is in common with a lot of the teams in the top-two divisions.

‘It’s not fully artificial, so will have its own issues like every pitch, but the thinking behind it is if someone makes a slide tackle it doesn’t take up half the pitch. This is because underneath is a carpet which holds it in place.

‘With natural grass, you pull one bit up and it pulls up loads more of it, yet this pitch doesn’t take up huge chunks.

‘Depending on the tackle and the usage, it will never going to fully stop that, but on the whole should provide a more consistent playing surface.’