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Sittingbourne manager Ryan Maxwell says 3G pitches are worth an extra 12-15 points | Brickies rally round midfielder after season-ending knee injury

Sittingbourne boss Ryan Maxwell believes 3G pitches are worth an extra 12-15 points a season.

Maxwell shared his opinion on artificial surfaces after the Brickies’ Isthmian South East home game against Sevenoaks on Saturday was called off due to a frozen pitch.

Sittingbourne manager Ryan Maxwell. Picture: Ian Scammell
Sittingbourne manager Ryan Maxwell. Picture: Ian Scammell

It was their second postponement in five days after the midweek trip to Littlehampton also fell victim to the weather.

Maxwell feels clubs with 3G pitches have an advantage over those with grass, particularly at this time of year.

He said: “The 3G is a huge plus in these circumstances because you’re getting your home games constantly on and you can plan accordingly.

“These things matter. They do have an impact.

“When you’ve got 3G you are very much in the driving seat in terms of fixtures and have that little bit of an advantage.

“There’s no real surprise that in most leagues it’s the teams with 3G who are right up there.

“It’s an advantage of 12-15 points a season having 3G.

“You’ve got your home games cemented in, you’ve got more control and you haven’t got a fixture backlog.

“There’s lots of pluses to having 3G, plus it gives you a great surface to play on as well.”

Sittingbourne are hopeful of moving to a new sports hub as part of the ambitious Highsted Park development, which would bring thousands of new homes and a new motorway junction to the area.

The plans include two all-weather and three grass pitches.

Maxwell said: “As far as I’m concerned, 3G has got to be installed for a club to have real growth and real desire to be successful unless your pitch is absolutely pristine, perfect grass and it’s looked after every day, which is unrealistic.

“Plus there’s the revenue 3G brings, so I think it has to be that if you’ve got real ambition to be successful.”

There’s bad news on the injury front with influential midfielder Jean-Baptiste Fischer suffering a serious knee injury.

The Frenchman tore his ACL in training and won’t play again this season.

“It’s terrible - a massive blow,” said Maxwell.

“He was just starting to become the complete player, which was the deal we had when he came here.

“The little things he was missing, he was just starting to put them into his game.

“He was scoring winners, he was also defending and competing extremely well, and his ball retention was high.

“I’m absolutely gutted for him - we all are.

“He’s a really well-liked member of the squad and we all know how influential he’d become.

“He’s a big miss for us but we’ll continue to support him.

“It’s not a nice injury. It keeps him out for the season, of course, but we’ll be here to help him when the time’s right for his rehab and support him through that.

“As soon as he can start doing anything, I’ll be doing it beside him.

“If it’s a bike, he can come down to the club and I’ll make sure there’s a couple of bikes here.

“If it’s gym work I’ll happily meet up with him and do some gym work to help where I can.

“He’s a great lad and a great player.

“I ask a lot of the boys but I also try to lead from the front.

“The least I can do is jump on a bike with someone and give them 30 minutes of my time and give them mental support, as much as physical, because it’s a hard journey.

“Knee operations are difficult times.

“I won’t be the only one helping him. We’re a close-knit group and I know the players will be reaching out as well.”

Sittingbourne visit Herne Bay on Saturday (3pm) and are due at East Grinstead on Tuesday (7.30pm).

The Brickies, who have signed striker Danny Parish following his release from Ashford, lost 2-1 at Hythe in the Kent Senior Cup last night.

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