Salford Red Devils head coach Paul Rowley has described the club’s training pitch as “horrendous” and “not fit for purpose” following a series of injuries.
Rowley is in his first pre-season as Salford boss but preparations for their Super League campaign have been hindered by the facility next to the AJ Bell Stadium which is used for training.
He said that the sand surface has been responsible for a spate of injuries, giving him a headache ahead of their pre-season friendly programme.
“There’s been two challenges,” said Rowley. “One of them is what everyone has been doing, dealing with the Covid situation, and we’ve had a lot of injuries caused by our training pitch which isn’t fit for purpose really.
“If I’ve got a bugbear, that’s something we put up with. But we said from day one we’ll never cancel a session and we’ve been true to that, we’ve not done so.
“I just don’t think (the pitch) has been maintained properly over the years. I think we’ve had something like six calf strains, a concussion from a slip, and we had someone go down with a twisted ankle today (Wednesday) on it.
“I’m not a groundsman but however it is, it’s pretty horrendous to be honest.
“I think it’s been hammered over the years without anything put in it and without having a rest. Having two or three pitches would be better but it is what it is. It’s absolutely battered.”
Those injuries, along with a number of players currently isolating, mean that Rowley is without around eleven players in the build-up to their first friendly at home to Swinton Lions on Saturday.
Tim Lafai is yet to arrive in the UK as he waits to receive his visa, but fellow signings Brodie Croft, Sitaleki Akauola, King Vuniyayawa and Shane Wright are all expected to play this weekend, with the current situation meaning that every fit and available player will feature against the Championship side.