Nottingham Forest head groundsman Ewan Hunter admits it will be tough to match the standards he and his staff set with last season’s playing surface.
The City Ground pitch is currently undergoing routine renovation following a busy campaign.
And, while he will always strive for improvement, Hunter knows it won’t be easy to better last season’s surface.
He told nottinghamforest.co.uk: “We used light rigs for the full season last year and it helped us achieve the best pitch I’ve seen in my ten years as head groundsman.
“Every year we try to make it better, but there are no guarantees. We were lucky with the weather last year – we didn’t have any particularly wet games and the winter was one of the mildest I can remember.
“We’ll have to see how it pans out, but our aim is always to match or improve on last year’s effort.”
Hunter was highly commended by the Football League for last season’s surface and is currently overseeing the pitch’s preparation for the 2016-17 campaign.
He said: “We have recently carried out our end-of-season renovations, which is an annual process for every Football League club.
“The renovation we’ve just done is a fairly basic one, but an essential part of the job. We had a lot of activity on the pitch last year, including reserve and youth games, cup matches, training sessions and corporate events, but the major reason we renovate is because over the course of the season shallow-rooted weed grasses grow into the pitch, which need to be removed and replaced with 100% rye grass. It’s also a chance to de-compact the pitch with heavy-duty machinery.
“The pitch is only nine days old from seed. In eight weeks’ time it will be strong enough to cope with competitive football.”