Details revealed of Sunderland's pitch investment - 'We've spent well over £100,000 to try and fix it'
and live on Freeview channel 276
The turf badly deteriorated through the turn of the year, and has had a notable impact on the style of play in recent home fixtures, particularly in damaging defeats to Lincoln City and Doncaster Rovers.
A fortnight break from home action since the latter of those two fixtures has allowed the ground staff to carry out some remedial work with the SIS Pitches company, ahead of more substantive, longer-term work in the future.
While Alex Neil says the poor weather conditions this week will not have aided matters, he is hopeful that there will be a notable difference from Saturday onwards.
"There's been work on it this week," Neil said.
"Naturally, the weather has not been helpful with two major storms in the last three days, but I'll go down and see it once I've overseen training.
"We've spent well over £100,000 to try and fix it and to make it better between now and the end of the season.
"That's certainly helpful and hopefully it will stand up to the remaining matches."
Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman spoke to the supporter collective earlier this week about the issue, with minutes from the meeting reading: “It is a stitch of artificial turf placed into the pitch roughly 250mm with 20mm acting as the grass above the surface.
"This hybrid system will last for 3 years at which point a half dig reconstruction will be required including new undersoil heating and irrigation. We will require a full summer for this project and as such there will be no concerts in the close season when this work is being undertaken.”
Neil is eager to secure his first win but knows it will be a stern test against a strong MK Dons side.
"There's pressure on every game at Sunderland, that's what the fans and club demand," he said.
"Equally we'll try to perform to our best and there has been a hell of a lot of work put in this week, and I just hope that's reflected when we play on Saturday.
"As we know, that's easier said than done.
"MK Dons are a good side, they've been working in the same manner for twelve months with their manager, they're settled in their methods and some of ours might be new to some of our players.
"That's the uncertainty at the moment that doesn't sit easy with me, because the best feeling as a manager is knowing what you're going to get going into each game.
"But what we do have is good players, and I'm hoping we can take the information they've had this week and what they've replicated in training, and take that into the game."
MK Dons currently sit one place and two points above the Black Cats in the League One table, with current top-two Rotherham United and Wigan Athletic drawing 1-1 on Friday Night.