SAINTS’ hot young property Luke Shaw could grace Sholing’s newly-named Silverlake Arena in tonight’s pre-season friendly at Portsmouth Road (7.30pm).
The teenage left-back – subject of rumoured £4m interest from Champions League winners Chelsea – is on a list of 23 names forwarded by Saints for the first of two under-21 team run-outs against
Evo-Stik South & West opposition.
Shaw has been watched by a host of Premier League scouts, but Saints are likely to reject all offers for the Kingston upon Thames-born young¬ ster, who is expected to formally sign professional
forms with the club on his 17th birthday this Thursday.
Sholing, beaten play-off semi-finalists last sea¬ son, include five new names in tonight’s squad – goalkeeper Matt Brown from Romsey Town, youngsters Ben Wilson and Ben Chambers from Eastleigh, John McKie from AFC Totton/Newport IoW and ex-Tiverton and Andover midfielder Chris Onoufriou from Lymington Town.
The Boatmen’s other summer arrival, defender Scott Sampson from AFC Totton, is unavailable.
Despite all the recent rain, Sholing are confident the match will go ahead.
“The pitch is looking good,” said manag¬ er Dave Diaper. “We’ve put plenty of energy and effort into it and it drains really well.
“We didn’t have one game called off last season water-wise, so we’re very hopeful of getting tonight’s game on and giving Saints a decent surface to play on.
“I know the rain can put spectators off, but we’ve got a stand that seats 150 so there’s plenty of cover if they want it.
“It’s nice that Saints are recog¬ nising clubs in Southampton,”
Diaper, pictured below, added.
“It’s very encouraging for Sholing to have them here and we’d like to make it an annual thing if we can. We’ve been trying for quite a while to make it happen.”
Saints under-21 boss Martin Hunter is expected to be joined by under-18s coach Jason Dodd in the dugout tonight and again for the trip to Sholing’s divisional rivals Winchester City next Tuesday (July 17).
Entry to the Silverlake Arena is £8 adults, £5 concessions and free for under-16s accompanied by an adult, who will get in for half price.
Saints squad (from): Matt Young, Corby Moore, Joe Curtis, Jack Stephens, Andy Robinson, Lloyd Isgrove, Sam Hoskins, Alberto Seidi, Will Britt, Chris Johns, Fraser Colmer, Luke Shaw, Jordan
Turnbull, Sam McQueen, Omar Rowe, Dominic Gape, Calum Chambers, Bevis Mugabi, Harrison Reed, James Ward-Prowse, Gregory Ariyibi, Jamal Branker, Jake Sinclair.