Lambert blasts U's pitch

COLCHESTER United boss Paul Lambert has branded the Weston Homes Community Stadium pitch as - “not good enough!”

Carl Marston

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United boss Paul Lambert has branded the Weston Homes Community Stadium pitch as - “not good enough!”

The U's have struggled for much of the season to stamp their authority on home matches at their new ground, and Lambert reckons that the bumpy nature of the pitch has hampered their progress.

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United failed to win any of their first six matches at the Community Stadium, with two wins and four draws, and it is this poor record that might end up costing the Essex club a play-off berth.

Recent results have improved on home turf, but it is no coincidence that the U's have still accumulated more points on their travels (28) than at home (25).

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“The pitch is a real issue. We have to play the pitch before we play the opposition!” insisted Lambert.

“It seems that the new grass has taken time to knit together. It's not great, though of course it will be the same for Crewe (tomorrow's visitors) as it is for us.

“Basically, the pitch is not good enough. You expect a few teething problems early on, and I'm sure that groundsman David (Blacknall) will work on it and get it right for the start of next season. I know that the pitch at Layer Road was excellent.

“The main problem is that it is very heavy to play on, and keeps cutting up. I'm sure this can be rectified a bit.

“The pitch keeps breaking up, and sometimes the ball does not bounce. This caught out Jimmy Walker (keeper) with the goal that Tranmere scored (1-0 defeat on February 10).

“We have to adapt our style. The pitch is certainly not great for a new stadium,” added Lambert.

Since Lambert was appointed the new manager in mid-October, the U's have won seven of their last 15 home matches. This upturn in fortunes at home, coupled with an impressive away record, has left the U's just five points adrift of the play-offs.

They will look to edge closer still to that top six with a victory over lowly Crewe Alexandra tomorrow. The Railwaymen are on a marvellous run - just one defeat in seven games - although they remain just three points clear of the relegation zone.

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