WITTON Albion are considering whether to replace a grass pitch at Wincham Park with an artificial one that brings in money to help them compete.

Chairman John Salmon confirmed to the Guardian the club has commissioned a feasibility study to explore how much it would cost to lay a 3G playing surface at their home ground.

Depending on the results, he said next summer is a provisional target for work to be done.

“This is something we have to do if we can,” said Salmon.

“To remain competitive at this level isn’t viable if we continue as we are and that’s relying too heavily on directors putting money into the club.

“We must be more sustainable than that.

“Look around the league; the guy who scored an equaliser for Basford against us cost them a five-figure sum.

“How do you think they paid for him?”

The Nottingham-based outfit, who finished above Albion at the end of their debut campaign in the Northern Premier League’s top-flight, are one of a handful of clubs who have 3G pitches already.

Buxton, Hyde United and Scarborough are the others.

“Those clubs have adopted a model that is self-sustaining,” added Salmon.

“To exaggerate an example; if you have a facility that can be hired 24/7 the social club turns to solid gold because it's being used more often than once a fortnight.

“We have a tremendously loyal and reliable fan-base, and a ground-share too that has proven to be lucrative with the extra cup games Northwich Victoria have had, but that isn’t enough.”

He said that a grass space behind the far terrace at Wincham Park, referred to affectionately by those associated with the club as the ‘Bernabeu’, could also be converted as part of the club’s plans.

That depends in part on whether there is enough room for a pair of small-sided pitches.

Salmon said: “There is more than one stage this project could go through, but top of a list of priorities is the main pitch.

“This isn’t a new idea, and we’ve looked at it previously during my time at the club as a director.

“However we think it’s the right moment to resurrect it.”

He told the Guardian that a weekly wage budget set for manager Carl Macauley to work with next season is smaller than last term.

The Witton boss has reached an agreement with three players, among them captain Rob Hopley, to remain with the club.

Fellow attacker Will Jones and Greg Hall, a goalkeeper picked by fans as their player of the season, are the others.

Salmon added: "There has to be a change of attitude.

"We have a grass pitch that is the envy of most rivals at our level - and above, actually - but we don't let anybody use it.

"It risks becoming a white elephant if that's the case."