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Artificial playing surface aids Pilgrims' preparations for trip

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 22, 2012

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Plymouth Argyle have prepared as best they can for their npower League Two away game against Accrington Stanley today – despite all the wet weather this week.

The Pilgrims' squad used the 3G artificial playing surface at Saltmill Park, Saltash, on Thursday morning as the Westcountry continued to be soaked by almost relentless rain.

Argyle manager Carl Fletcher said: "It hasn't been too bad. Our training pitch at Harper's Park held up really well earlier in the week. We trained there on Tuesday and it was fine. We had a bit of work done to it in the off-season and we are reaping the benefits now.

"It was out of action on Thursday, which was a little annoying because later in the week you want to work on your team shape and things like that," Fletcher added.

At least Argyle were able to use the excellent facilities at Saltmill Park, although the pitch at the venue is not a full size one.

Fletcher said: "You obviously have to change from grass to astroturf and you have got players who can't train on astroturf.

"It's not the same size as the pitch so you have to modify things to accommodate your needs due to the weather."

Former Charlton Athletic joint-manager Steve Gritt was interviewed by Argyle for the post of director of football, it is understood.

Gritt, 55, was one of three candidates on the Pilgrims' short-list for the new role.

The decision was taken to offer a contract to John Ward but, after verbally accepting it, he was head-hunted by League Two rivals Bristol Rovers as their new manager this week.

Argyle are now resuming their search for a director of football – and it is not clear whether they will approach Gritt again.

Gritt was Charlton's joint-manager with Alan Curbishley from 1991 to 1995, having previously played 435 times in two spells with the south London club.

He was Brighton and Hove Albion's boss from December 1996 to February 1998 before spending three years on the back-room staff at Millwall.

Gritt was appointed as Charlton's Academy director in 2004 but left that position in 2010 as part of cost-cutting measures.

The referee for Argyle's League Two Devon derby against Torquay United at Home Park on Boxing Day (1pm) will be Graham Salisbury, of Lancashire.

The Football League stated yesterday that the 2012-13 season will kick off on August 3. The decision was prompted by a ballot of clubs, with a clear majority in all three divisions preferring the chosen date as it delivers an additional Saturday match.

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