ALBION have begun work on a new state-of-the-art pitch at the club’s training ground to rival the one at The Hawthorns.
The club are investing more than £1million in developing a 105x111metre Desso GrassMaster surface that will feature under-soil heating and a new remote-controlled irrigation system – with 20 outer-pitch and 16 in-pitch sprinklers.
The pitch will meet all of the criteria required for UEFA's highest standard of pitches and is expected to be ready from the beginning of the 2013/14 campaign.
Albion head coach Steve Clarke has welcomed the improvements as the club edge closer to securing a fourth successive season in the Barclays Premier League.
“The work being undertaken at the training ground will prove a massive help to the coaching staff and players and can only help us improve as a group,” he said.
“Adverse weather can really disrupt our pre-match preparations and this will give us somewhere to train during the winter months on a surface that is virtually identical to the pitch at the stadium.
“In the past, when all the pitches at the training ground have been frozen, we have had to move training to The Hawthorns which has led to wear and tear of the surface, so the investment at the training ground will also help to protect the pitch for matchdays.”
Two summers ago major works at the club's training ground saw the installation of hydrotherapy facilities, including a state-of-the-art Hydroworx pool from the USA, with a view to shortening the recovery and rehabilitation periods of injured players and improving the prevention of certain injuries.
Albion's head of facility operations and development, Mark Miles, added: “The Board continues to invest in the club’s infrastructure to improve facilities for the coaching and playing staff.
“The new pitch at the training ground is the latest development and will provide the first-team with a top-class surface to train on all-year round.”