Shropshire Star

Kevin Wilkin feels lucky Telford play on grass amid 3G surface debate

Telford boss Kevin Wilkin has admitted he feels ‘lucky’ his side play on a home grass pitch amidst the debate surrounding artificial surfaces.

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Last weekend, Dorking Wanderers manager Marc White criticised his own 3G pitch for causing four knee ligament injuries in five years, raising questions about the safety of these surfaces.

With seven sides in Telford’s division playing on artificial pitches, Bucks boss Wilkin, whose squad has already been ravaged by injuries this season, believes a definitive decision needs to be made.

“The better way to look at it is I want to play on a fair and consistent surface and even some 3G surfaces can be inconsistent.,” explained Wilkin. He continued: “If you compared Redditch’s to Barwell’s they’re like chalk and cheese, and even though people say 3G pitches are very consistent, they can play very differently.”

Artificial pitches have become increasingly popular in semi-professional football, with the surface allowing football to be played all through the year regardless of conditions.

And Wilkin acknowledged there are issues with grass pitches too.

He continued: “I want to play on grass, we’re lucky enough to play on grass at home, but having said that I don’t want to play on some of the poor pitches we faced last season and will face this season.”

Telford face an away trip to St Ives this weekend, whose Westwood Road pitch has a 3G surface used by the club for first and youth team training and matches.

There are over 600 ‘high quality’ artificial pitches in England and an increasingly high proportion of non-league clubs are opting for a synthetic playing surface.

But without proper maintenance even these all-weather pitches can be worn down, and this lack of certainty worries the Telford boss.

“The stage that they are at in their life, how long they’ve been down and how well they’ve been maintained can create problems and issues,” explained Wilkin.

“They have a place but more importantly for me the surface needs to be fair and consistent.”