FOOTBALL could return to Forres Mechanics' Mosset Park soon if pitch remedial work is a success.
The root of waterlogging problems affecting the Moray club's playing surface has been pinpointed as 'thatch', an issue normally found on golf courses.
If work being carried out on the pitch this week results in a solution, it may not be long before Mechanics can return to home soil.
Manager Charlie Rowley is remaining optimistic but knows it is highly unlikely that the Mosset will be playable this weekend for a Highland League derby against Keith.
"It is an area that has been bothered with thatch. It's not unknown to golf courses and greenkeepers," said Rowley.
"It's when the roots don't start developing down the way. I think they turn up and go horizontally rather than straight down vertically and that just creates a barrier so the water just lies on top."
The Forres boss said a specialist suggested doing minor remedial work on the Mosset surface.
He said: "Hopefully it will be enough to get it playable sooner rather than later. When they dug up an area, underneath was perfect, bone dry but the water isn't getting to drain simply because of what they call the thatch.
"So it's just a matter of trying to get air into it and punching holes down through it.
"They will be doing that this week to see if, in the short term, it can get us on Mosset but given the forecast it's highly unlikely at the minute. But it won't be for the want of trying or work on it, that's for sure."
The area of the pitch affected is inside the penalty area at the east end of Mosset Park.
With the section too soft to play on, Wednesday's league match against Buckie Thistle was postponed, as was cans away trip to Formartine United on Saturday.
This weekend they are scheduled to host Keith and next Saturday it's another home game against Rothes, two games Forres don't want to lose. They are currently on a five-game winning streak having last played at Nairn three weeks ago.
"It's difficult to get any enthusiasm at training if there's nothing at the end of the week," Rowley said.
"But we've to try and keep their spirits up.
"I'd be really disappointed if this ends up costing us in terms of pushing on up the league."