New training pitches cannot come soon enough for Martin and Dons

"It’s not befitting of the club or where we want to go"

Monday, 12th April 2021, 12:03 pm
Updated Monday, 12th April 2021, 12:04 pm
Russell Martin training at Woughton

MK Dons training ground dilemma has been an ongoing bugbear for the club since their arrival in Milton Keynes but the end appears in sight and for Russell Martin, it cannot come soon enough.

Last week, chairman Pete Winkelman said pitches would be ready to be trained on at the National Bowl - where the club will be housing a purpose-built facility for their teams to train - as early as next season after plans were submitted to Milton Keynes Council late last year.

Dons have been struggling with a consistent surface to train and indeed play on in Milton Keynes, with Woughton on the Green not up to scratch and the Stadium MK surface degrading with every game. Of late, they have been using 3G surfaces at Fairfields to prepare, but recent injuries to Cameron Jerome, Warren O'Hora and David Kasumu as a result of inconsistent training pitches is something the first team should not have to suffer, according to the manager.

"For us it makes a big difference," he said. "We look at every area of what we are doing and the biggest area for improvement is the stadium pitch and training pitches. With the way we play it makes a big difference to us.

"You come to a stadium like this, being here is no problem, it’s a high performance environment with a professional culture, but I find it hard to operate at top level at Woughton. We have four injuries because of where we train though because of the astro surface. That’s the lesser of two evils.

"Having better pitches makes a bigger impact on what we do. The chairman appreciates it’ll make us better and it’s hugely appreciated, hopefully we get them sooner rather than later.

"If we are going elsewhere to train, we need to have somewhere better to train. It’s not befitting of the club or where we want to go. We’re all excited about it and it will take a time because of the planning, but for the chairman to come out and make it public is brilliant and it’ll make a huge difference to us."