Belfast Telegraph

Knockbreda boss defends pitch size after Larne controversy


By Steven Beacom

Knockbreda manager Lee Forsythe has moved to clear up the controversy surrounding the size of his team's pitch in their opening Championship clash against Larne.

There were suggestions that Knockbreda narrowed the playing surface by 6ft on each side.

Forsythe refuted such claims, stating that the pitch was taken in but not to the extent that some believed.

Ahead of tomorrow night's home clash with league leaders Dundela, Forsythe said: "What happened was this, our pitch was used for the European Under-19 Women's Championships last season, and to comply with Uefa regulations it had to be widened.

"We couldn't play on it until mid-season so we decided to stick with it the way it was until the end of the season.

"At the start of this season for the game with Larne we brought it in by 2ft either side. It wasn't just for Larne.

"We have kept the pitch that way and it is still one of the biggest pitches in the league. There were a few comments after that game which I couldn't believe.

"I heard people saying it was brought in by 6ft to try and gain an advantage but that wasn't the case at all. It was 2ft on either side. The way the pitch was, it didn't suit us and we changed it. I think it is our prerogative to do that.

"It was the same size as when we played Carrick and lost 2-0, and no one said a word unlike after the Larne game.

"It really isn't a major issue as far as we are concerned."

Dundela have 12 points from 12 and are favourites to keep their perfect record going, but mid-table Knockbreda did beat them in the League Cup earlier in the season so enter the fixture in positive mood.

"We played them in the first game of the season in the League Cup and beat them 3-1, but since then they have gone on an incredible run and are scoring goals for fun," said Forsythe.

"They will be expected to win but it's not a game that we are fearful about.

"We know each other very well, they actually have something like eight former Knockbreda players, so that makes it tasty, and it is an east Belfast derby.

"We were the favourites to get relegated at the start of the season but I think that we are much better than that."

Meanwhile, Championship favourites Larne, who are two points behind Dundela, are at home to H&W Welders tomorrow night.

The Inver Park outfit added two more players to their squad this week with midfielder Fuad Sule arriving on loan from Barnet alongside former Boston United and Sligo Rovers striker Benny Igiehon.

Elsewhere tomorrow night, Portadown face Limavady United at Shamrock Park, Ballyclare Comrades - who have made an impressive start to the campaign with 10 points from a possible 12 - are at home to Harry McConkey's Ballinamallard, while Dergview travel to Carrick Rangers and Loughgall host PSNI.

Belfast Telegraph

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