'Unbeaten' Alan is proud of his pitch

ALAN Ferguson has not been beaten this season - and he does not anticipate losing out in the rest of the campaign.The Ipswich Town head groundsman is justifiably proud of producing Portman Road pitches that have not seen the Blues lose once in 2007/08 - at first team, reserve and youth level.

Elvin King

ALAN Ferguson has not been beaten this season - and he does not anticipate losing out in the rest of the campaign.

The Ipswich Town head groundsman is justifiably proud of producing Portman Road pitches that have not seen the Blues lose once in 2007/08 - at first team, reserve and youth level.

And despite the pitch looking the worse for wear in last week's FA Youth Cup victory over Watford, Ferguson today confirmed it will be back to its best when Plymouth are entertained in the Coca-Cola Championship next Tuesday.

“Ipswich have not lost at home this season,” said Ferguson. “And I like to think that my team have done our bit.

“We have provided the players with a pitch they can pass on, as opposed to some away from home like Leicester and Coventry where it has not been easy.”

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And Ferguson is confident that a pitch that had to be re-laid midway through last season - after it fell well below its usual standard - will soon be back to its best.

“I have no worries about the pitch being up to scratch for the visit of Plymouth,” added Ferguson.

“We will have had nearly a fortnight to work on it and complete some essential mid-season maintenance tasks.

“There was two months average rainfall in the first 17 days of this month, and it was important to arrange to switch our last two home reserve matches to our training ground.

“The pitch will soon be back in good nick.”

Ferguson explained why part of the pitch had no bounce and looked waterlogged against the Watford youngsters.

“For the fourth match running we had the surface covered by our pitch balloon before the FA Youth Cup tie,” said Ferguson. “And there was a freak gust of wind that tore a section of the canvas.

“This left part of the playing surface open to the elements, and this is where the problems were against Watford.

“The balloon has since been prepared and we don't envisage it happening again.

“With six first team home matches in a calendar month up to January 12, the old pitch has taken a battering.”

A lack of good growing conditions is expected to hinder the growth of grass over the next few weeks.

With sunlight and wind restricted by the Portman Road stands, Ferguson would like to have grow lamps available at the ground. These encourage growth throughout the year.

“We were one of the first clubs to look into it,” he said. “Two thirds of the Premier League are using them now.

“We had a meeting with the manufacturers in Holland over the last few weeks, but installing them is still out of our financial reach.”