United are preparing for Saturday’s National League South match away to Eastbourne Borough by training on Torquay Academy’s artificial pitch.
Eastbourne Borough’s 3G pitch will be the fourth artificial surface United have played on so far this season after Chelmsford, Oxford City, and Slough Town.
Training at Torquay Academy this week has helped United prepare according to manager, Gary Johnson.
“We did train at the astro turf at TA [Torquay Academy] which is a great facility, by the way,” said Johnson. “I’ve not been there before so it was lovely.”
Johnson was asked at his weekly press call whether he searches out artificial playing surfaces before playing a full match on 3G.
“Yeah, we do. We’re going to be training down there where we’re staying overnight on an astro turf pitch as well, so by that time we’d have had Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday on an astro turf pitch.
“It’s more that I can see whether people are comfortable with it, or whether they are thinking about it. I want to see them make a slide tackle. I want to see them do a diving header. I want to see my goalkeepers throwing themselves all over the place. It’s more for that. I want to make sure they’re natural on it.”
United may not fill the bench at Eastbourne on Saturday, but that doesn’t worry Johnson after intentionally travelling without the full allocation of players against Brightlingsea in the FA Cup to save players from needless long journeys
“Our squad is still light, however, as I said last week while I’ve got a goalie sub, and three other subs, that’s really all you need at the moment, and that’s what we’ve got. We’re a bit tight for numbers. I’m hoping to have somebody signed up. That will give us another body.”
United will be without Connor Lemonheigh-Evans who has been called up by the Wales U21 squad.