Pitch problems prompt Sunderland to consider new surface

SUNDERLAND will consider installing a high-tech playing surface this summer in an attempt to end their pitch battles, writes STUART RAYNER.

SUNDERLAND will consider installing a high-tech playing surface this summer in an attempt to end their pitch battles.

The Stadium of Light pitch has never really lived up to its surroundings, the problem exacerbated by its use as a concert venue and the harsh weather.

The result is a pitch falling behind the Premier League’s increasing standards.

Sunderland’s is one of the few totally natural surfaces in the top-flight, but the club may consider injecting the artificial fibres commonplace on other grounds.

Boss Martin O’Neill said: “We are attracting a lot of people in to watch the football and, particularly in the modern day where pitches seem to be getting better, they want to see the best conditions possible.

“I say that, yet I watched Roma play Inter Milan ten days ago. I accept the fact it was minus eight or nine but the pitch was really terrible.

“I watched Barcelona away in the Champions League (at Bayer Leverkusen) and that pitch looked poor.

“Sometimes the weather plays an important part. I have excellent groundsmen at the training ground and stadium – sometimes it is hard to put something into a pitch which does not exist. In the summer it is something we will have to look at so we have a proper pitch to play on next season.”

A relaid pitch normally takes six weeks to bed down.

l NICKLAS Bendtner has applied to have his court case for criminal damage postponed, fearing it could harm his Euro 2012 chances.

The on-loan striker is due in court with Lee Cattermole on February 27, two days before Denmark’s friendly with Russia.

Coach Morten Olsen has warned players missing the three-day get-together are in danger of not being selected for the European Championships.

 
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