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JCB Groundhog is premier league club Stoke City's latest signing

JCB’S Groundhog utility vehicle has scored a hit with Premier League team Stoke City’s grounds staff after the Club invested in the machine for use at its training facility.

The 6x4 vehicle, made by JCB Utility Products in Cheadle, Staffordshire, has been signed up by the Club’s training ground in Stoke-on-Trent to help staff operate even more efficiently. And like City’s strikers Ricardo Fuller and James Beattie, the Groundhog is already proving to be a force to be reckoned with.

With a top speed of 18mph and turf tyres which protect the playing surface, the nippy Groundhog ensures all training equipment is in place in double quick time ready for the players’ arrival at the 27-acre facility in Trent Vale. And it’s also helping ensure the pitches are protected from harsh frosts during the winter months.

Stoke City’s Head of Development Richard Smith, said: “We use it as a general utility vehicle and everyone is really pleased with it. We are almost in the position where the staff are fighting to have it during certain periods of the day where duties overlap!

“We did evaluate a competitive product but I just felt that the build quality was not as good as the JCB Groundhog. It’s a machine that is going to take a battering over time and if you have got a robust product it is going to last you longer which is why we chose the JCB. We also like to support local companies and with JCB and the dealer Gunn JCB being in Staffordshire, it cemented our decision.”

The Groundhog has been supplied with a rear winch and a TFM trailer, manufactured by Cumbria-based TFM Engineering. The vehicle is used for distributing and collecting an array of gear including mannequins, cones, footballs and poles used by Stoke City stars during their daily training sessions. Staff also use the machine for transporting grounds maintenance equipment and supplies around the huge site.

The Club has also invested in frost covers for the training pitches to ensure playing conditions remain at the highest possible standard and remain safe for the players during the winter months. The Groundhog and its rear winch will take the strain of unfurling the bulky 280kg covers in the afternoon and hauling them back in before players arrive for training the following day.

The Groundhog 6x4 is ideal for transporting people and loads across delicate ground – making it perfect for football training grounds. Allied with a choice of turf or rough terrain tyres dependent on the application, the machine imparts minimum ground damage on delicate surfaces and as well as delivering great traction in heavy ground.

The permanent 4-wheel drive utility vehicle is powered by a 768cc, liquid-cooled, 20 hp (14.9kW) diesel engine. It features CVT transmission including manual differential lock with a Kevlar drive belt for enhanced durability. In response to customer feedback it is now available with three new cab options for added weather protection, the incorporation of an electric winch and a new kit to enable legal road travel between job sites. The machine has a maximum payload of 500kg and a towing capacity of 500kg.