Sheffield Wednesday: Owls ahead of schedule with pitch project

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A senior official at Sheffield Wednesday has revealed the club are ahead of schedule with their new state-of-the-art Desso GrassMaster pitch.

The first shoots of grass are now visible at Hillsborough and operations Manager John Rutherford is confident the surface will be ready for the Owls’ final pre-season friendly against St Mirren on August 1.

He said: “We have now reached the point of where we are a week ahead of the original programme that we set. We have been very lucky with the weather. Early on, we lost a couple of days but we managed to claw them back over weekends.”

Contractors Leicester-based company John Hewitts Sportsturf started work on the £1m project at the end of April. They have laid the foundations for the pitch and the computer-driven Desso machines, which intertwines natural grass and artificial fibres, is well under-way.

“The seeding process will start on Monday,” said Rutherford. “That will give us four or five weeks to grow the natural grass.

“We will be ready for our home pre-season friendly on August 1.”

We have now reached the point of where we are a week ahead of the original programme

John Rutherford

Managers, coaches and players criticised the state of Wednesday’s pitch last season, prompting owner Dejphon Chansiri to upgrade the surface.

Many Premier League clubs, including Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, already employ Desso technlogy, which has been used in the UK for nearly 20 years.

John Hewit, the owner of Hewitt Sportsturf, said: “The pitch will be perfect. All the big boys have the same constructed surfaces.

“It will have a very consistent performance all the way through its life. It doesn’t really change. It performs really well.”

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