WITH the NATO summit in Cardiff just finishing and a 3G pitch to contend with, Sholing’s visit to Merthyr Town on Saturday throws up some unusual obstacles.
There could be heavy traffic to contend with on the M4 in the aftermath the largest gathering of international leaders ever to take place in Britain.
But if Sholing manage to reach Merthyr’s Penydarren Park in good time, they hope to have a decent pre-match warm-up on the artificial surface.
Fourth-placed Town are unbeaten at home in the league, having won two and drawn one of their three home games so far.
Sholing co-boss Dave Fear said: “Individually our lads have played on 3G and 4G pitches before in five-a-side tournaments and so on, but not collectively.
“We’ve got the option to train on it beforehand if we’re there early enough and we don’t get caught in traffic.
“The ball will move quite quickly so we’re going to have to be mobile.
“There’s nothing consistent in this league and this is going to be another different type of game with a different surface.
“We’re looking at a 12-hour round trip with a 9.30am leave and a 9.30 return and the extra travel takes it out of you, but at least we’ll be on a coach.”
Sholing travel to Wales in 17th place, looking to turn the corner on three straight league defeats.
They had the boost of a 3-1 FA Cup win over Bristol Manor Farm last weekend and have no further injuries to report.
However, left-back Jack Smith and striker Alex Baldacchino are unlikely to return from ankle trouble and midfielder Lewis Fennemore remains touch and go with a bad back.
Midfield man Alex Sawyer is away on a stag weekend but, as luck would have it, it’s in Cardiff and he may make the trip across.
One new face who could feature for Sholing shortly is wide man Toby Adekunle who played for Team Solent last season while on a bursary from QPR.
“He had to play for the uni while he was on the bursary, but it’s finished now,” Fear explained. “He lives Essex way and he’s down full-time at uni.
“We’ve already got Marvin McLean, Nick Watts and Barry Mason for the wide positions, but Toby can play straight down the middle too.”