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League Two club ask EFL to leave stadium because of pitch condition

A certain League Two club, bidding for promotion, ask the EFL to leave their current stadium because of it’s rather shocking pitch condition.

Newport County boss Michael Flynn believes the Exiles should be given a break by the English Football League to move away from their pitch issues at Rodney Parade, which is shared with the Dragons Rugby region.

The Exiles had to settle for a point after a goalless draw against Stevenage in a rather dull game of a few chances.

It was an encounter which pinpoints why the club are asking if they can move some, or possibly all, of their eight remaining home fixtures from their current ground to take the strain off the playing surface.

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Plans had been put in a new hybrid pitch last summer were hit due to the pandemic.

Newport County chairman Gavin Foxall told the Argus that an EFL board meeting on Thursday will make a decision on the short-term ground move to a destination yet to be confirmed by the club.

“It would be welcome,” said Flynn, whose side train at Spytty Park and the FAW’s Dragon Park in the city.

“It’s the ground staff that I feel sorry for as well as the players, they are working so hard in what is an almost impossible situation.

“If it happens then it will be something that we would be comfortable with. It’s not the norm but this season is not the norm either.

“There needs to be allowances for situations like this and hopefully we might get something positive.

“If we had any bad weather then a game is going to be off and there is only a week spare, and that is an international week and we’ve already had one player called up [Malta’s Luke Gambin].”

How good the pitch previously looked

“They kept going and going,” said Flynn on the game, which leaves them 6th in the League Two table. “They are a bit disappointed but it is a point, we are gutted that we didn’t get the three but their effort and commitment was first class.

“There were just some moments when we lacked a bit of quality on the ball and made the wrong decision.

“It comes to something when a direct free-kick is classed as a good chance for us. I feel for the players but their work-rate was spot-on.

“We made one mistake and nearly got punished for it. That is the importance of making no mistakes on this pitch. It is that important and they have to stay switched on for the whole game.”

Writing in the match programme for Saturday’s game with Stevenage, Foxall said: “There has for some time been engagement with the EFL exploring options given the current predicament caused directly by the pandemic.

“Whilst it may appear to be a simple issue to resolve, there types of challenges are littered with complexities.

“These must be worked through with the governing body. The club have been doing this and as a result our “exceptional circumstances” will be discussed at next week’s EFL board meeting.”

Flynn doesn’t blame the ground staff because of those demands but admits the surface is making life difficult for his team as they chase promotion to League One.

Club captain Joss Labadie didn’t play in the draw because of a knee injury but should be fit for the clash at Tranmere.

“We missed Joss,” admitted Flynn. “The lads did their best in their today but sometimes he gives us that edge winning the ball higher up the field.

“We want to get some positive results. It will be tough because Tranmere are flying but we will go there and give it our best shot, then it’s another long trip to Colchester.”

Looking to where Newport County might have to move their home games to, here is a list of potential destinations with that being kept quiet right now…

Cardiff City Stadium
Miles from Newport: 12

Ashton Gate
Miles from Newport: 19

Memorial Stadium
Miles from Newport: 19

The New Lawn
Miles from Newport: 33

Liberty Stadium
Miles from Newport: 41

Edgar Street
Miles from Newport: 44

Whaddon Road
Miles from Newport: 45

County Ground
Miles from Newport: 52

St James Park
Miles from Newport: 64

Other groundshares we’ve seen with our EFL sides this season have been AFC Wimbledon at QPR and Harrogate at Doncaster.

SEE MORE: League One club set for groundshare at non league stadium

Fans reacted as the League Two club are to ask EFL to leave their stadium because of the pitch condition…

@fcislocheng: With no crowds might as well play the games anywhere really. Even at training grounds.

@GarethHulme: How is that pitch allowed? I wouldn’t play my grass roots kids football on it

@MitchAherne87: I mean they are free to get their own ground instead of having to rent a rugby pitch

@mattjohnson997: Why football teams shouldn’t groundshare with rugby. Brentford have a brand new ground but their pitch is like a pig field

@swalespeanut: Tinpot

@ReeceDSport: Bit late

@Howell_95: Can’t County do a Swansea? Buy the ground and kick the dragons out. Surely a 2,000 seater somewhere would suit the dragons

@phylo85: The playing surface @HerefordFC is something behold! Just up the road 😉

@1MoreWelbourne: Let s hope they do so @officialbantams don’t have to play on that cabbage field on 9th March

@Steve1968112: Definitely. The pitch is shocking

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