WREXHAM might not have a new permanent training base for another two years.

The latest update from the Wrexham Supporters Trust included a Zoom meeting with other fan groups, and included the latest news regarding the search for a training ground.

The Groves has been identified as a suitable site after an extensive search of the town, director Spencer Harris explaining the work taking place.

Asked if Dean Keates’ Reds could be using The Groves to train as early as the 2021/22 season, Harris said: “What will need to happen with The Groves is we need to remove the covenants. To remove the covenant the council will need to go to the tribunal and that could take as long as 70 weeks, so we are talking just over a year, or just under 18 months.

“Before that we need to go and get planning permission, so I would say we are a minimum of two years away from spading ground, but we don’t see that as an issue with Nine Acre as it currently stands. That timing should work out okay for us.”

Harris also lifted the lid on the potential cost of turning The Groves into an area suitable for professional footballers to train on.

“Would we have to spend £700,000 all at once? No,” said Harris, showing those on the Zoom meeting the prospective plans for the site. “The lowest possible spend we could do is replicate Nine Acre and we’ve got people engaged at the moment who we are looking to bring in for an estimate.

“We’ve had an estimate on the cost for turning it into a replica of Nine Acre, but we want to be absolutely certain on costs.

“One quote of around £120,000 for doing two pitches and turning that into the same as Nine Acre – taking what’s there up, levelling, filling in etc. But there is some work we want to do to validate those costs, so watch this space.”

What are the club’s goals for The Groves?

Harris said: “Every team, if they are going to play well on the pitch, needs good training facilities, so the work that’s really done, if you speak to any manager, is Monday-Friday and then Saturday is just the output of the work.

“Ideally, you want really good conditions, which means the ground is suitable but also it is quite inspiring for the players. If you go to a Premier League training ground, it’s quite an awe inspiring place to go and work.

“I’m not suggesting The Groves is going to be quite that, but for our level of football we could, over time, make something really good for the club.

“Ultimately, what we’d like to do is replicate some of the conditions you see at The Racecourse – same size pitch – the same conditions.”

Harris also spoke about why Wrexham are looking to move away from Nine Acre to The Groves, where the club will have a 99-year lease.

He said: “Both ourselves and the council recognised the need for a long term permanent site in which Wrexham AFC can invest, so we started with discussions on Nine Acre, however, a new primary school is needed in Wrexham and Nine Acre was the preferred site for that and therefore The Groves was a viable option.

“There’s a couple of plusses of The Groves over Nine Acre. For those that have been to Nine Acre, it’s completely open all the way around, there is no shelter, you can look in and there’s no real entrance to it. The Groves has a really nice entrance. It’s a much nicer vista to enter into the site, there’s enough space for two full sized football pitches and a goalkeeper training area, which are the basics of what we need.”

Colliers Park was Wrexham’s home for close to 20 years before the Football Association took control of the site. The Reds’ youth team use the facilities in Gresford, so why can’t the senior side?

Wrexham have used various facilities since leaving Colliers, including Stansty Park, The Rock, Carden Park and the Airfield.

Harris explained: “People might be wondering ‘hang on a minute, Colliers Park isn’t available to the first team but it is to the youth team, what’s that all about?’

“Well, they happen at different times of the day, so in the day the university and the Welsh FA run different events out of Colliers Park and we could never be fully sure you could be able to train when you wanted to train.

“But not just that, it’s a fairly expensive venue in terms of us being a National League team and with us taking up most of the evenings there the FAW wouldn’t be keen for Wrexham to take over the site in the day as well, given they’ve invested £5million into it for Welsh football – for it to turn into Wrexham FC’s training venue isn’t really good optics.

“We have trained there from time to time, we do have a really good relationship with the FAW, but it wasn’t open to us as a permanent home for the first team.”