Winter may be on its way out but West Bromwich Albion are already planning for the adverse weather conditions again.
Work has begun on a new state-of-the-art pitch at the club’s training ground to rival the one at The Hawthorns.
Albion are investing more than £1million on the latest upgrade at their ever-improving facility and expect it to be ready in time for the start of next season.
With Premier League safety already secured for the 2013/2014 season the club know they will be receiving a significant amount of extra revenue when the new bumper television deal kicks in next term.
And the success on the pitch this season has allowed the club to press on early with forward-planning projects that may have needed extra time to consider should the Baggies have been fighting a relegation battle.
Albion head coach Steve Clarke has welcomed the improvements and believes it will be a big benefit during Albion’s fourth consecutive Premier League campaign.
“The work being undertaken at the training ground will prove a massive help to the coaching staff and players and can only help us improve as a group,” he said.
“Adverse weather can really disrupt our pre-match preparations and this will give us somewhere to train during the winter months on a surface that is virtually identical to the pitch at the stadium.
“In the past, when all the pitches at the training ground have been frozen, we have had to move training to The Hawthorns which has led to wear and tear of the surface, so the investment at the training ground will also help to protect the pitch for matchdays.”
The 105x111metre Desso GrassMaster surface will feature under-soil heating and a new remote-controlled irrigation system – with 20 outer-pitch and 16 in-pitch sprinklers.
The pitch will meet all of the criteria required for UEFA’s highest standard of pitches.
Two summers ago, major works at the club’s training ground saw the installation of hydrotherapy facilities, including a state-of-the-art Hydroworx pool from the USA, with a view to shortening the recovery and rehabilitation periods of injured players and improving the prevention of certain injuries.
Albion’s head of facility operations and development, Mark Miles, added: “The Board continues to invest in the club’s infrastructure to improve facilities for the coaching and playing staff.
“The new pitch at the training ground is the latest development and will provide the first-team with a top-class surface to train on all year round.”
With the international fixtures taking place tomorrow and next week Albion have no domestic fixture this weekend.
Eleven players are on international duty, including Ben Foster who is in the England squad for the important World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.