Following their 3-1 FA Trophy defeat in the mud at Brackley Town at the weekend, Sutton United's focus returns to their National League campaign with a tough game at fellow high fliers Dover Athletic this Saturday (February 10).

The season is reaching the business end and wth just 16 games remaining Sutton find themselves under ever-increasing scrutiny as the debate over 3G pitches rages on.

The U’s are currently fifth and have a genuine chance of clinching a place in the Football League (EFL) but their dream could turn into a relegation nightmare should they secure promotion.

With the EFL having stated there are no plans to allow non-grass pitches following a narrow vote in early 2015, Sutton face a choice between ripping up the 3G pitch that has transformed their fortunes to take a place in the EFL or a double relegation.

In a series of impassioned Tweets posted on Sunday, manager Paul Doswell said: “Really struggling at moment to make sense of Sutton’s situation.

“Have always loved non league football and very proud that we are playing at the highest level through sheer hard work and prudence, never spending more than we have and building a community club which welcomes all.

“If we gain promotion, it will cost half a million pounds to replace the pitch and deny hundreds of children the chance to play football. Every chance as well that we would suffer huge financial pressures as all the basic award £472,000 would go on replacing the pitch.

“For those championing grass as a surface, we played on a cowfield yesterday and didn’t play the week before either. National League and League 2 pitches were shocking in the main this weekend.”

Sutton are understandably reluctant to rip up a pitch used by hundreds of people every week, making the Knights Community Stadium a real hub of the community.

The facility has helped raise the club’s profile with crowds rocketing in recent seasons to an average of 2,141 and season ticket sales soaring to more than 1,600.

With things looking so rosy off the field, the 3G pitch situation is casting an ominous shadow over what should be an exciting time for Doswell and all those connected with the club.

The Sutton boss went on to say: “As a custodian, supporter of the club, I’m deeply troubled that something that should be so exciting is causing such anxiety.

“Dagenham, Macclesfield, Chester and Hartlepool are in desperate trouble with others in League 2 in exactly the same position all with grass pitches.

“Their archaic approach will damage Non League, League Two for years and I guarantee they will look fools in years to come.

“American footballers worth £150 million each play on field turf the same company as Sutton use. Champions League, World cup qualifiers, Women’s World Cup. FA Cup all played on 3G.

“I can’t keep quiet anymore. It’s a disgrace that we could be relegated twice for deciding it’s not right putting our club at the risk of financial ruin as we’ve seen with in NL these last few weeks.

“Ambitious yes, putting our club at risk NO. This has taken a lot of soul searching, it’s only my personal view and one that I’ve been worrying about for months. Instead of enjoying this season it would break my heart to rip up the pitch.”

The EFL is due to vote on the issue of 3G pitches once again in the summer.