Sutton United’s first two home fixtures of 2021-22 League Two season have been rescheduled following delay in progress to lay a new pitch surface.
Sutton used to play their home games on an artificial playing pitch surface in Non League but English Football League (EFL) rules require a grass playing surface, which has forced the club to lay a new grass pitch at Gander Green Lane this summer following their promotion.
Adverse weather conditions in recent weeks amidst a heatwave however has resulted in a delay in the process to install the new grass pitch which complies with current EFL regulation, in turn forcing the club to question its ability to host its scheduled home fixtures against Salford City and Hartlepool United.
Discussions consequently took place with the EFL and it was decided to move both home fixtures in order to allow further time to ensure that the new grass pitch is properly laid without issue.
Sutton’s scheduled opening home fixture in League Two against Salford on Saturday 14 August 2021 has now been reversed, with the fixture now set to be held at Salford’s Peninsula Stadium on the same date with the return leg at Gander Green Lane now taking place on Tuesday 8 February 2022.
Sutton’s home clash against Hartlepool which was scheduled for three days later on Tuesday 17 August however won’t be reversed, with EFL organisers instead opting to reschedule the fixture for Tuesday 14 September.
EFL Chief Executive, Trevor Birch spoke in a statement about this development in which he described Sutton’s issues as “unexpected challenges” and praised the league as well as Salford and Hartlepool for their assistance in these rearrangements whilst maintaining “respect of their fixture schedule.”
This campaign will mark Sutton’s first season as an EFL club and Birch spoke of his excitement at their addition, commenting: “The Club will be a great addition to the EFL, looking to build on an impressive campaign last time out and we look forward to seeing them host Sky Bet EFL fixtures at Gander Green Lane in the near future.”
Sutton will now hope to play their first home game of the season on Saturday 28 August providing no further delays, with Oldham Athletic set to visit Gander Green Lane on August Bank Holiday weekend.