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St. James' Will Be Pitch Perfect For Sunday

Written by Newcastle Utd

Groundsman Andrew Tully says the St. James' Park pitch will be in great condition for Sunday's game with Norwich

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor


The St. James' Park pitch will be in "fantastic" condition on Sunday for the visit of Norwich City in the Barclays Premier League.

That is the expert opinion of deputy head groundsman Andrew Tully, who looks after the Magpies' matchday playing surface and has been tasked with making sure it is fit for football again after hosting three Rugby World fixtures.

Since the final whistle blew on Scotland's victory over Samoa on Saturday, Tully and his staff have worked around the clock to get the pitch back into shape, and he is very pleased with the progress being made.

"It's good, considering everything we expected from the rugby," Tully told nufc.co.uk on Monday morning.

"At the end of the day it's a football pitch - not a rugby one - and we are in the process of a quick turnaround to get it ready for football again at the weekend.

"The pitch hasn't gone anywhere - it's still there. You've got the rugby markings and a bit of damage from the games, which is what we knew would happen and we will tend to throughout the week.

"We worked pretty late through the double-header weekend - that was always going to be the case. Two games in two days of any sport is a lot for a pitch to take. It's just general wear in high-traffic areas that we really have to tend to.

"By Sunday it will be looking fantastic."

Some onlookers expressed concern at seeing Tully and Co on the pitch during breaks in play in the trio of rugby fixtures.

But the turf technician explained it was all due to ensuring the best possible recovery for the grass.

"That's just what you've got to do," he said of their on-pitch presence.

"It's best that we were going on during the games, instead of rugby players stamping on divots, putting them back in upside down or anything like that.

"We were going on, tending to them properly and putting them back in the right way up, so they had more of a chance to recover."

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