Ossett Town boss Phil Sharpe raises concerns over Durham City pitch

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MANAGER Phil Sharpe has raised concerns about Durham City’s artificial pitch ahead of Ossett Town’s trip to the North East tomorrow, Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

Town take on City in the Evo-Stik Premier League tomorrow but Sharpe believes the synthetic surface at the Durham UTS Arena gives the hosts an “unfair advantage”.

“We’ve got to go up there and play on their artificial surface and to be honest I think it gives them an unfair advantage,” he said.

“We train on an artificial surface but to play competitively on one every week is a different matter, I don’t think it’s right.”

Durham’s pitch has caused controversy before - the club was banned from playing home matches in FA competitions and the team were told they would not be able to play on its plastic pitch - installed in 2007 - if they won promotion to the Blue Square Bet North division.

The ban led to the club’s shirt sponsor pulling out in 2009 and struggles on the pitch followed.

But the Citizens have enjoyed a good start to their 2011-12 campaign and currently occupy a play-off spot in Division 1 North.

Sharpe said: “It’s going to be a tough game up there but there will be confidence in the squad thanks to the positive result over Wakefield FC in the FA Trophy at the weekend.”

Town will still have Dave Clapham (hamstring), Neil Bennett (groin) and Niall O’Brien (nose) sidelined but Sharpe was buoyed by the debuts of new signings Neil Towler and Lee Garside at the weekend.

“Both players gave us a boost and did very well on their debuts,” Sharpe said.

Wakefield FC will aim to bounce back from their FA Trophy defeat when they host Skelmersdale United at Stade France tomorrow, Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

The Bears have enjoyed an encouraging start to their season and sit 12th in Division 1 North.

But United sit second and are so-far unbeaten in their league matches.

Goalkeeper Jan Zolna has left the Bears to sign for Worksop Town.

Ossett Albion return to league action with a home game against Mossley (kick-off 3pm).

The Warehouse Systems Stadium club are desperate for three points after winning just one of their ten league matches so far this term.

See this week’s Wakefield Express Sport for all the latest sports news from around the district.