CHIPPENHAM Town manager Mike Cook believes home advantage may not be as prevalent for Oxford City this weekend as their 3G home is a familiar surface to the Bluebirds.

Cook’s men train on Chippenham rugby club’s astro-turf pitch on Tuesday and Thursday nights before taking to a real grass surface at the Thornbury Surfacing Stadium on matchdays.

Several clubs in the National League South – including Oxford City and Eastbourne Borough – use artificial playing surfaces to keep running costs down and bring in money during the week.

And while Cook admitted there is nothing better than playing on turf at the weekend, some of the Bluebirds’ training sessions have convinced him that his team have the capability to perform even better on artificial grass.

Cook said: “The game will be on a 3G surface, but we’re lucky enough to train at Chippenham rugby club.

“They’ve been fantastic hosts for us – and that’s a brilliant facility which we’re lucky to have in the county of Wiltshire.

“Playing on an artificial surface will perhaps suit us a little bit because we look a very good team in training, so I’m hoping we can bring that to the fore against Oxford.

“Having said that, I think that suits a few more of our players on an artificial surface than it does on grass.

“There have been times when I’ve come off the training pitch in the last six weeks and gone: “wow, he looks a good player” or “he’s done well in that drill.”

“It’s a difficult surface to play on if you’re not used to playing on it and obviously there is a massive advantage for the home team playing on it every week.

“You can trust the bounce on a 3G surface, but you have to play into feet otherwise the ball skips on.

“It’s a favoured surface of mine, so hopefully it will be to our benefit.”