Boss Elphick won't be using pitch problems as an excuse

Worthing Football Club boss Gary Elphick says it might take his new-look team a little while to get used to each other but insists he will not make any excuses about that '“ or the club's pitch issues.

Wednesday, 16th August 2017, 2:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:53 am
Worthing boss Gary Elphick. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Worthing began the new Bostik League Premier Division season with a 3-1 defeat at Metropolitan Police on Saturday when they were slow out of the traps and 2-0 down inside eight minutes.

They now go in search of a first league win of the season at Leatherhead this evening (7.45pm).

The club are playing their first five matches away owing to pitch issues at Woodside Road. They cannot currently play on their 3G surface after it failed three FIFA quality test certification inspections this summer.

FIFA sent a company down to Woodside Road on Friday to take stone samples of the 3G base from three different areas of the pitch. The results are with FIFA, who were due to speak about the matter at a meeting in Zurich earlier this week.

Worthing hope to hear from FIFA by the end of the week, so they can begin to make more plans for the season. They hope a temporary solution can be found for the pitch to pass the FIFA certification which will enable them to play home games from September and then the surface will be relaid next summer.

If no solution can be found, the pitch will need to be relaid and Worthing will play home games at Bognor until the issue is rectified.

Elphick does not believe the pitch issues will be a distraction for his squad and said: “It can be whatever spin you put on it but I’m not going to make any excuses.

“If we take six points from the first month of the season, it’s not such a bad return with all of our games being away.

“I’m hoping it will galvanise us and bring us together. If we have points on the board and home games to come, it will be a bit of an advantage for us.”

Reflecting on Saturday’s match at Met Police, when Worthing trailed 3-0 at half-time, Elphick said: “It was a wake-up call, we didn’t start quick enough but we were great in the second half.

“If we put the wrongs right, there’s no reason why we can’t be a force in the league this season.

“We’ve had a high turnover of players, who have got to get used to each, and it might take a couple of months until we get on a decent run and put decent points on the board.

“I’m not one to set long-term targets, however we’ve got the ability to do well and I’m not going to make any excuses. I want to be a winner and will make sure we’re at the races every game.”

Winger Harvey Sparks is set for three or four more weeks out with a ankle injury, while striker Lloyd Dawes is set for two weeks out with a hamstring strain.

Forward Tony Nwachukwu is struggling with shin splints, so Elphick is set to use him more of an impact player off the bench in the coming games.

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