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Alloa shrink pitch to gain a Championship advantage 

The pitch at the Indodrill Stadium has been narrowed by nine metres this summer.

Trim: Alloa have redrawn the lines.
Trim: Alloa have redrawn the lines. STV

Alloa Athletic have redrawn the dimensions of their pitch, making it narrower in an attempt to give them an advantage in the Championship next season.

The newly-promoted side have repeated a move they believe served them well in the league two years ago, hoping a tight pitch can help them better full-time opponents.

The pitch at the Indodrill Stadium was the widest in Scotland, but has been drastically drawn in by a total of nine metres to meet the minimum width required in the laws of the game.

The man behind the move is club chairman Mike Mulraney. He took the flak when the pitch was narrowed in 2016, much to the annoyance of then Rangers manager Mark Warburton, and he says the move is about looking after the club's best interests.

"Obviously the last time we were in the Championship we decided we were going to make a change half way through the season, which courted some controversy," he told STV. "So this time we decided to be more popular by making the change at the start of the season.

"I discussed it with the manager and Jim was quite keen, having seen the results after we made the change the last time.

"As the part-time team in the Championship we want to take every advantage we can and he determined that he wanted to change the size of the pitch.

"We've got a very wide pitch here, the widest in Scotland, so we just thought we would change it up.

"We're 69m at the moment and we'll go down to the minimum under FIFA and UEFA, which is 60m."

Last week a players' union survey voted Alloa's artifical pitch the tenth best in the country but the redrawing of dimensions is sure to attract attention.

Mulraney said he isn't bothered by any complaints from opposition sides and says results and the backing of supporters are all he cares about.

"We're only worried about ourselves," he said. "We've checked what the rulebook says and it says that's what we can go to, so that's where we'll be. We'll comply with the UEFA standard.

"We were content having looked back over the last few years that it was the right thing to do. Our record after we made the change the last time we were in the Championship was very strong.

"We're out here to win games at home and if that contributes then fantastic. We've got a great team, good signings coming in and we think we'll do OK.

"We're not here to be popular with anyone other than our own fans. As long as we win the popularity vote of the Alloa fans and public then we'll be happy with that."

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