FORRES Mechanic’s head of youth development says the club desperately needs winter facilities.
Former Cans striker, Charlie Brown, admitted more than 60 players in the under-13s, 15s and 17s, struggle to find suitable local pitches for training and match days.
He said: “We are forced to use the outdoor floodlit Astroturf at Nairn Academy for training from November until March– even the first team have to travel to Aviemore or Aberlour to train at great expense to the club.
“It would be great if we had somewhere local with lighting to train outdoors over the winter months.”
“Elgin, Buckie, Fochabers have all-weather, synthetic sports fields, many with floodlighting. Forres has nothing.”
However, in December 2014 it was agreed that Robertson Homes would make a financial contribution towards a 3G playing surface for the town, as part of the proposed Lochyhill housing development. Last April, a spokesperson confirmed the developer is “looking forward to working with the local community and Moray Council to move the development and those amenities forward”.
At the time, local councillor, Aaron McLean, commented: “Robertsons have signed the legal agreement which states they will pay £31,602 towards the development of a 3G pitch once construction begins on the 100th unit at Lochyhill.
“But no word when they will begin construction of the first, never mind the 100th!”
Moray Council sports development officer Kim Paterson, who has been trying to encourage support for a purpose-built local facility, estimates it would cost around £600,000.
Local group Forres Community Leisure is currently investigating the possibility of a Community Asset Transfer of Mechanic’s stadium Mosset Park and adjacent waste ground at Bogton. They hope to develop existing and new leisure facilities at the site long term, which could include a floodlit, all weather pitch.
In the meantime, the Can-cans will continue to be seen as the training nomads of the Highland League.
“We get access to Forres Academy or Forres House Community Centre but these are no substitute for reasonable sized all-weather or grass facilities,” added Brown.
“On Sundays we have even had to play our under-15 home games in Elgin and Burghead. Welfare teams use Roysvale and we have no access to any other local pitch.”