DUDLEY and Stourbridge Harriers are hoping a proposed £17,000 facelift to the Dell Stadium doesn't backfire on them and ruin their season.

The popular Brierley Hill based running track was initially closed on May 15 to allow for necessary repairs and cleaning work to take place.

But the work has run into trouble after the cleaning equipment broke down.

The track was scheduled to reopen by June 2, but already Dudley Council officials don't expect the stadium to be back up and running before the end of this month.

Dudley and Stourbridge Harriers (DASH) now face an anxious wait to see whether their prestigious Heart of England Young Athletes League meeting on July 5 will go ahead.

They've already had to switch their Midlands Veterans League meeting to Stourport and DASH chairman Dave Eades admitted: "It doesn't bode well if we keep having to cancel meetings.

"We provide all the catering for the Heart of England meeting, so it's quite a little money spinner for us.

"But UK Athletics don't like it if you keep having to cancel. We have to apply for next season's meetings by the end of September to early October and this situation could count against us."

Dudley Council has confirmed there is a problem with the contractor's specialist equipment and Mr Eades added: "I understand the cleaning machine has broken down and they are waiting for a new part to arrive.

"At the moment we've still been able to train on the track - but that has to be re-lined as part of the work involved.

"Work is also supposed to be taking place on the long jump and pole vault areas.

"The drainage keeps getting clogged up with mud from the football. There's also a problem with moss, while the rubber safety mats have perished. It's something we've been having to live with for a number of years.

"As a result, the track failed its inspection in early spring and these improvements need to be completed before the track will be granted a new certificate."

Cllr Rachel Harris, Dudley's cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "The heavy rain has caused delays with the cleaning of the running track. There is also a fault with the contractor's specialist equipment and we are working closely with them to get this work done as quickly as we can.

"We are hoping to have the track ready for use by the end of June and we are speaking to athletics clubs who use the track to keep them informed of progress."