Work has now begun on relaying the pitch at the Riverside Stadium ahead of the 2017/18 season and the club is using the same methods in which it pioneered back in 2015, pitch steam sterilisation.

Boro have been awarded in the past for the work undertaken by our groundsmen and the playing surface at the Riverside, and there is a lot of work that goes into our annual replacement of the pitch.

The process takes around eight weeks and a number of different steps are taken to ensure the surface is in top condition ahead of kick-off in August.

Chief Operating Officer at Boro, Mark Ellis explains: "The pitch work entails removal of the top 5cm, the grass and underlying sand. 

"The mix is what's called fibresand - so it's a fibresand pitch. It's 90% sand with small fibres in it. 

"You remove the top 5cm, replace it with fresh fibre sand mix, turn it over, mix it in then re-level it. 

"Then we'll we be sowing grass seed at the end of the week. After that it's a matter of irrigation - helping the grass seeds to germinate. 

"It will be covered with some plastic sheets and once it's germinated you allow it to grow and make sure the roots are kept healthy."

Ellis says that the stringent procedure to ensure we have the pitch on top form can only be made possible by having the ground staff in place to make sure the job is done properly.

"You've got to have a good groundsman," he said. "You have to have a groundsman who knows what he's doing. 

"I'm going back a while now but the grass pitches in sand are prone to damage caused by microscopic worms called Nematodes and we had to deal with that.

"They eat and damage the roots which stunts the growth. What we did last year was steam the pitch and the underlying sand to kill the Nematodes. Sampling has proven that it has worked. 

"We got a 100% kill on the Nematodes that were existing on the pitch. This year we sampled the sand mix that has come in we've made sure it had been quarantined and Nematode-free. 

"The cycle that we look for is a minimum of seven weeks but we prefer eight. You need a minimum of seven but obviously the conditions can cause a problem."