TRAINING on artificial turf scuppers Swindon Town’s ability to train at full pelt, says Richie Wellens.

With the pitches in poor condition, the club have trained only a handful of times at their regular Beversbrook Sports Facility base in Calne this year.

In lieu they have had to use a host of other facilities, spending plenty of time at the Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre, as well as spots in Reading and Hungerford, among others.

The Foundation Park facility next to the County Ground has also been used, although the artificial surface is far from ideal as it impacts on players with pre-existing or historic injury problems.

“Training on grass means we can train at a higher tempo, we have six or seven players that have had ankle injuries or other injuries with joints,” Wellens said.

“Those guys want to train, and they do train on the artificial grass, but we can’t ask them to go at full pelt.

“If you train all week at 50 or 60 per cent, it’s then difficult to flick that switch and all of a sudden train or even play at 100 per cent.

“So on grass, we’re able to train at full tilt whereas when we train on artificial grass some players understandably can only train at 60 or 70 per cent.”

The situation means that Swindon’s players have been travelling across the region to get their work in. Bisham Abbey alone is at least a 70-minute drive away from Swindon.

But Wellens – whose squad were due to prepare at Burnley’s training ground before today’s game at Oldham was postponed amid the EFL’s coronavirus suspension – praised his players for taking the situation in their stride.

“We trained on the artificial grass at Foundation Park on Monday and Tuesday, which isn’t ideal, but then we trained on the grass at Bisham Abbey on Wednesday,” he said.

“So we managed to get a bit of grass training into the players, and then we’ll train at Burnley’s training ground on Friday.

“They’ve been good enough to allow us to use their training ground, and that is much needed – a couple of hours on grass.

“I have to take my hat off to the players because they haven’t moaned, they’ve just got on with it.”