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Pitch delays costing Featherstone Rovers heavily

Pat Cluskey on the pitch at Featherstone Rovers. (p622a504)
Pat Cluskey on the pitch at Featherstone Rovers. (p622a504)

Delays in getting Featherstone Rovers’ new pitch ready for the start of the new season will hit the club financially, its chief executive has said.

Rovers have been forced to play all of their pre-season games away from its Big Fellas Stadium after relaying the pitch at the end of last season.

The club extended the pitch after installing two new stands transported from Scarborough Football Club.

Mr Cluskey, 50, said: “The loss of four home pre-season games has obviously had an impact on finances.

“Pre-season is there for two reasons. Firstly, it gives the coach the chance to look at players for the new season and for the club it is a vital source of income.

“The last home game was on September 27 so in effect there has been no gate income since.”

The club has already sold more than 750 season tickets for the new campaign.

Mr Cluskey said: “When we sat down to plan for 2015 we would have expected to have some gate receipts.

“But it’s not just the money you take on the gates that affects the club. It’s the money from bar sales, food sales and merchandise in the shop that we’re missing out on.”

Rovers were forced to play Sunday’s game against York City Knights at Pontefract Rugby Union Club.

The club will also play their first game of the season at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ Rapid Solicitors Stadium on Monday, February 16.

Mr Cluskey added: “Despite the games we have lost out on having at home everybody is positive.

“It’s an exciting year for the club and what this means we have got to work hard for the next 11 months of 2015 to make sure we bring the income we’ve lost in January back in.”

Mr Cluskey said the club are hoping the pitch will be ready for the team’s game against Bradford Bulls on March 1.

He added: “It’s disappointing not to be at home for the first game because it’s something people really look forward to but there is nothing to gain from dwelling on it.

“It’s a fact we can’t play the games here and we need to make sure we make the game at Wakefield a success.

“Wakefield have been really helpful in letting us play the game at their ground and we’d also like to thank the fans for their patience.”