After more than 200 hours of usage last year, the Madejski Stadium pitch is currently undergoing a full reconstruction in preparation for the new season.
"I always like a challenge...this is definitly one of them!"
Grounds Manager Adam Grantham is referring to the balance of rugby matches with Reading first team league and cup matches as well as U23s and U18s games which have given the Madejski Stadium pitch a thorough workout this season.
Between both rugby and football matches last season, the pitch had to endure more than 200 hours of wear and tear - making the groundsmens' jobs very difficult at times!
Some weeks they are faced with a football match on the Saturday, London Irish rugby on the Sunday and first team football again on a Tuesday - often with an Under-23s game in between!
"Like many things, football pitches have a shelf life. The last time the Madejski Stadium pitch was reconstructed to this extent was back in 2007 and last season it had reached the end of it's shelf life and had become ineffective in some areas," Grantham explained.
A full reconstruction is now underway with the process expected to last right up until the start of the new Championship season.
"It’s a case of stripping it right back, taking the old hybrid system out and starting from the bottom up. Reshaping all the sub base levels, reinstalling the drainage, the unsersoil heating, a new irrigation system.
"All the vegetation has been taken off now. We’re now grading the lower sub base and preparing for the installation of the new drainage.
"Once that's done, the irrigation will go in, then the undersoil heating will be installed. And then all the lower and upper root zones will be installed.
"We've got about a four week window to grow the pitch in - ready for the first game of the season - and the last two weeks of that four week period will see the hybrid system stitched in for us.
"And hopefully the end result will be a pitch which is a lot stronger and healthier. And that's what it’s all about...trying to get it the best surface for the gaffer and his team, that suits our style of play.
"We’ve got a great team of lads who work at the stadium and down at Hogwood – who work really hard to make the training surfaces as good as possible for the players. And we’re working hard up here at the stadium to make the best possible surface for the first team on matchdays.
"Our industry is always moving forward, it always has been" said Grantham. "Everyone is always striving to do better. Pitches 10-15 years ago weren't what they are today - it's a credit to the industry. And we're always looking to move forward."
To learn more about the process check out this video ...