Watford chief executive Julian Winter has reiterated the Vicarage Road pitch will not be relaid this summer and the time scale could depend on how negotiations with Saracens progress.

The surface at Vicarage Road is a ‘Desso pitch’, which has synthetic grass fibres intertwined with the natural turf and is supposed to be replaced at least every ten years.

The pitch is now in its 11th season and came under heavy criticism in the national media following the defeat to Newcastle United on February 28.

However, Winter has confirmed it will not be relaid this summer and when asked when the pitch will be replaced, he replied: “It depends on how discussions with Saracens progress.”

Winter explained: “Due to the Sir Elton John concert the club is not in a position to replace the pitch this summer – there would not be suitable time to construct the pitch, stitch in the desso and allow for adequate growing time.

“Our financial position is also well-documented and a large outlay such at this has to be planned for.

“A new Desso pitch is in the region of £500,000 to £800,000 and this is money that we simply do not have at this stage. However, we have factored in the need to replace the pitch into discussions with Saracens.”

Sarries’ long-term future in Hertfordshire is unclear as both clubs have a break-clause in their current agreement this summer which means Saracens could leave at the end of the 2011 season.

The rugby club pay one lump sum of £489,000 a year and do not pay a contribution to maintenance costs.

The agreement was written up a decade ago when the Hornets were desperate to land Saracens as a tenant but Watford have made it clear Sarries will have to contribute more in any new agreement.

Both parties have indicated that Saracens could help redevelop the Vicarage Road Stadium should they stay in the long term.

Saracens have made no secret of their desire to attract the large South African population in London and chief executive Edward Griffiths has claimed the club needs attendances of at least 15,000 if they are to stop losing “vast sums of money each year”.

However, gates have regularly been less than half that this season despite a number of high-profile matches at Wembley in a bid to attract supporters back to Vicarage Road.

Saracens only have one home game left this season on March 28 and Winter confirmed the pitch is due to be “over seeded and fertilised in due course” in an attempt to help the grass grow back.

Winter said: “The pitch maintenance is carried out by contractors working to our direction, based on advice from our agronomist, who is one of the best in his field.

“This winter has proved to be one of the most difficult for ground staff due to a combination of long periods of cold and wet weather, which have hampered attempts to implement the maintenance programme. It has been virtually impossible too for fertilisers to have any impact.”

Newcastle United’s Kevin Nolan claimed Watford would be higher in the table if they played their home games on a better pitch such as the Magpies’ St James’ Park.

But Watford manager Malky Mackay said: “It is hypothetical, we don’t play at a ground like St James’ Park, we play at Watford.

“I think we have shown at Vicarage Road that we can perform and I look at possibly the QPR game where the pitch was playing heavy that night but we played some of our best football this season.

“So at the end of the day it is about the players as well as the pitch and the belief that the players have got takes over any thoughts they have that there might be a bobble.”

“I have seen an awful lot worse than that,” Mackay added.

“I have never seen so many Premier League pitches that look so dreadful as I have this year.

“In the last couple of weeks there have been pitches highlighted in the Premier League. Now we are not talking about the lower leagues, we are talking about at the highest level that are awful looking.

“They have an awful lot spent on them and they do not have any secondary game played on them either. We have rugby on as well as football and I think considering we both play on it, it is wearing very well.

“It is just something we have to deal with. You can complain and do whatever you want but you have to deal with it and that is life.”