Portsmouth seek cup fixture switch amid player concerns over artificial pitch

Pompey are seeking to switch venues for their Hampshire Senior Cup tie with AFC Stoneham over concerns for their players’ well-being.

Monday, 25th October 2021, 11:30 am
Pompey last month beat Basingstoke on a 3G playing surface to progress in the Hampshire Senior Cup. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)

Danny Cowley’s men are scheduled to visit the Stoneham Lane Football Complex in the third round of the competition.

However, a date has still to be finalised, with the Blues lodging a request for the fixture to instead be moved to Fratton Park.

Stoneham play on an artificial playing surface, which represents an issue for Cowley.

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Pompey’s penalty shoot-out victory at Basingstoke Town in last month’s previous round was also held on a 3G pitch.

That encounter saw Connor Ogilvie damage his calf, putting him out of action for six matches, with the playing surface blamed.

The Blues are wary of returning to a 3G pitch in the form of AFC Stoneham, particularly with the need to include members of their first-team squad to boost numbers.

Cowley told The News: ‘Potentially we will play a strong team in that game.

‘We are looking at the possibility of moving it to Fratton Park, although I don’t know whether that is possible to happen.

‘Stoneham play on Astroturf, so, if it is moved, we will then be able to play a stronger team.

‘That’s what injured Connor Ogilvie, so it’s something we are concerned about.

‘We’ve only got eight kids who can play – and two of them are injured – which leaves us with six. While you’ve got to be over 16 to play.

‘So we’ll need to put other members of our squad in there.’

Ironically, the Hampshire Senior Cup draw had presented Pompey with home advantage for the tie.

However, as is customary, it was switched to the home of the non-league club to prevent wear and tear of the respective Football League club’s pitch.

Yet, in the circumstances, Pompey are now favouring hosting the fixture.

AFC Stoneham are presently seventh in the Premier Division of the Wessex League.

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