THE Newcastle Jets have been denied their usual captain's-run training session at McDonald Jones Stadium this week, amid lingering concerns about the state of the playing surface.
The pitch was damaged by the recent supercross motorcycle event, prompting last week's scheduled home game against the Mariners to be transferred to Gosford.
While the Jets have been assured it will be playable for Sunday's clash with Melbourne City, it won't be available for their normal pre-match training session the day before the game.
The Newcastle Herald has twice contacted stadium management seeking an update but has received no reply.
Jets coach Rob Stanton said the state of the turf was "outside my control", and while he would prefer to train at the stadium, he wasn't overly concerned.
"I'm going to go and have a look at it, but we can't get on it and train, unfortunately," Stanton said.
"There's still some work to be done, apparently.
"It's one of those things where you always want the best pitch to play on, but if that's not possible, in the end it's going to be the exact same for both teams.
"I'm not too concerned. It might not look pretty, but they tell me it'll be safe and I'm OK with that. We've just got to get on with it."
Newcastle face a City team who have returned after an arduous Asian Champions League trip to Tokyo this week.
Melbourne gave away a late equaliser in a thrilling 3-all draw against Ventforet Kofu at Japan's Olympic Stadium on Wednesday.
Before the long-haul flight to Japan, City played in Auckland last Saturday, where they were beaten 1-0 by Wellington Phoenix.
Despite the time in transit, Stanton said the Jets would not be underestimating City.
"They're generally well looked after, and they've also got a bit of depth in their squad as well," he said.
"They've obviously played in the Champions League before and know how to handle it. I watched their game last night and they were quite good and caused a lot of problems for the J-League side.
"They've got a few days to recover and I'm sure they'll come out against us and be very, very good and very competitive. So it's a big challenge for us, but it's one we're looking forward to, because you always want to play against the best teams."
The result in Tokyo continued City's frustrating start to the season.
Last season's runners-up have won only one of their five A-League games this season and sit a point behind seventh-placed Newcastle on the competition ladder.
But Stanton has no doubt they have a squad brimming with quality players.
One of them is Socceroo Mathew Leckie, who returned off the bench in Japan after spending three months on the sidelines with a knee injury.
The veteran forward will be hoping for more game time against the Jets.