WORCESTER Raiders is on the cusp of finalising a groundshare deal with development work at Claines Lane still stalled.

Chairman Kevin Jenkins is awaiting the green light from FA officials at Wembley for a ground that could act as a base for Raiders “until Christmas or for the whole season dependent on what happens at Claines Lane”.

Raiders had to postpone a home match with Wolverhampton Casuals on Saturday, October 12 with time ebbing away ahead of hosting Wem Town on Saturday (3pm). 

PICTURES: How Claines Lane looked on October 2, 2019

September 27 - County CEO reiterates that Claines Lane is on track

September 4 - Raiders confident over temporary facilities 

August 15 - County CEO: "No one has told me it is not on track"

July 5 - Funding not among the "number of factors" delaying Claines Lane development 

The initial plan had been for the club to put in place temporary facilities by the end of September while landlords Worcestershire FA complete delayed work on a 3G pitch, floodlights and a new building featuring changing rooms and offices that will act as the county’s headquarters.

The Worcester News visited the site on Monday (October 21) with no visible signs of work progressing. 

READ MORE | "Class act" Birch cannot be replaced, says City boss

READ MORE | Pain in the neck for City's Jamie? 

READ MORE | Benefits of £2.9million hockey facility "clear" to Cllr Chris Mitchell 

But Jenkins explained the costs had come in too high for Raiders to provide pop-up changing rooms with showers and toilets alongside additional toilets for spectators, pushing the club to look elsewhere.

“We have secured somewhere which has passed ground grading from the league,” said Jenkins, who politely declined to name the location ahead of it being rubber stamped. 

“Everything is okay with the people who run the establishment and we are just waiting for the FA Leagues Committee to ratify it.

“It was set to be today (Tuesday) or tomorrow. The gentleman who needs to give it the green light has been away and hopefully we will have a decision in the morning when we can tell everyone where it is.

“I cannot see it being rejected, we are just waiting for that final tick.

“The temporary facilities were not financially viable. We tried every which way but got hit with a massive snag whichever way we tried to sort it – drainage, freshwater and other problems.

“We had to seek other options and that decision was very much taken with a heavy heart.”

Asked how long Raiders would be at the alternative venue, Jenkins replied: “It is an ongoing arrangement.

“It could be until Christmas or for the whole season dependent on what happens at Claines Lane, which I am in the dark about myself to a degree.”

Only the floodlights and the concrete base for a stand Raiders will need to meet ground grading requirements are in place despite the county association initially targeting a late September finish date.

CEO Nichola Trigg has previously stated Worcestershire FA needs to be out of its current premises at Hampton Lovett by some point in December with Raiders needing Claines Lane to meet with the FA’s G grade by March 31 2020 to avoid being relegated.

“Things go wrong, it is one of those things that always seems to happen to people like me and something we have to put up with,” said Jenkins.

“As far as form goes we are in a great position when you think about how many away games we have played. Now we just need to get into a place we can call home and go from there.

“The (county) FA has been brilliant, they have done everything they can but have their hands tied. Nobody can blame anyone, the situation is what it is and we carry on.”

On how long Claines Lane could take to sort out, Jenkins said: “We have no timescale, we just have to wait.

"In the meantime we need to get our own house in order and play from somewhere else for now.”

Trigg and Worcestershire FA's football development manager Martin Collier, the association’s two leaders on the project, were unavailable for comment.