SHOLING are carrying out personal fitness checks on their entire playing squad ahead of their big date at Wembley next month.
Dave Diaper, manager of the FA Vase finalists, has asked a friend of his, Dave Jones from Aspirations Personal Training, to gauge his players’ fitness levels to ensure they are in peak condition for the biggest game of their lives.
“Dave’s carrying out checks on their BMI (body mass index) and general fitness and he’s going see them all again in two or three weeks’ time to see if their BMI’s dropped and if the rest of the stats have improved,” Diaper explained.
“It’s not a form of discipline and it won’t mean that if players don’t reach a certain figure they won’t get in the squad. But the Vase final is a massive day for them as well as the club and there would be nothing worse than being on that stage and not being fully fit.
“It’s good for the players to have a bit of a session on the treadmill, bike and stuff and get some advice on conditioning, nutrition and so on.”
Sholing have also sought the expertise of Alex Pike and Mark Hook, manager and chairman of Gosport Borough, to help them prepare for the big day.
Less than a month ago, Gosport also graced the Wembley stage in the FA Trophy final and had some useful tips to pass on.
“Alex and Mark came in to give us a bit of advice and tell us how they did it,” said Diaper.
“We’ve been given the same list of things to do by the FA that England, Arsenal, Man Utd etc get when they play at Wembley – only they’ve got about ten people in their admin department to deal with it!
“We’re trying to make sure we don’t miss anything – and trying to win the Wessex League at the same time!”
Sholing were due a fitting for their Wembley suits last night, kicking off another hectic week.
They travel to AFC Portchester tonight and Fareham Town on Thursday and, in between, their reserves go to St Mary’s tomorrow for the Southampton Senior Cup final.
Sholing won 4-0 at Lymington Town on Saturday to remain four points adrift of Sydenhams Premier leaders Alresford with five games in hand.
A single Alex Sawyer goal separated the sides at half-time, but Ashley Jarvis gave them 68th-minute breathing space before Kev Brewster and sub Alex Baldacchino struck late on.
Lymington, who recently lost manager Stuart Doling, have conceded nine times in their last two games. “I think they only had half their normal side out but, saying that, the young lads they pulled in had a lot of energy, workrate etc.” said Diaper. “ We had to be a bit patient.”
Sholing are without Tyronne Bowers (knee), Brewster (holiday) and Lewis Fennemore (suspended) tonight, while skipper Byron Mason (back) is doubtful.
“I believe Portchester have got Nathan Lynch suspended, but they’ve still got Jamie Musselwhite and (ex-Saint) Jake Thomson,” said Diaper. “But we showed character when we went to Newport last Thursday (and won 2-0) and hopefully we’ll do the same tonight.”