Boss looks forward to playing away after Torquay United's pitch problems
No team would actually prefer to play away from home, if only because of the support-factor, but Torquay United will almost certainly relish meeting npower League Two rivals Exeter City at St James' Park on Monday night from a purely footballing point of view.
Gulls manager Martin Ling believes that the Plainmoor pitch is currently the worst in the Football League, and even chairman Simon Baker has been speculating recently about the benefits of a club like Torquay installing an all-weather surface.
With United also struggling for decent training surfaces, while their own Seale-Hayne complex near Newton Abbot recovers from major landscaping work, the whole pitch issue is currently a major talking-point at the club.
"People don't like to hear this statement, but our pitch at this moment in time is as bad as there is," says Ling.
"And that probably means in the country."
His view has been echoed by a series of visiting managers this season.
"We know that Exeter's pitch is perfect," said Ling. "Our lads will have a lift from the surface they'll be playing on, and we know we'll have a good following."
You'd think, in the circumstances, that the relative merits of Plainmoor and St James' Park would be reflected in the home records of the two clubs.
Perversely, not so – United have won six times and lost only twice in front of their own fans, while City owe their current fourth place to their excellent away record.
Ling still plans to use the "best" half of Plainmoor for United's final training session tomorrow, just to make sure his players get to work out on grass following another week dominated by visits to Paignton College's 3G artificial arena.
The problems at Plainmoor appear to be three-fold.
First, the pitch was regraded and reseeded last summer.
But the work could not start until after the play-offs, which cost valuable time, and the club's former groundsman Scott Duff was absent for most of the summer because of health problems.
The surface was never likely to be at its best this season.
Second, the construction of the new Bristow's Bench grandstand, which was also completed during the close-season, appears to have affected the drainage on that side of the ground.
The worst section of the pitch at the moment is there, in an area which has never been a problem before.
And third, of course, is the wettest winter in living memory.
New groundsman Chris Ralph, who was appointed in November after being in charge of Newton Abbot's Hele Park Golf Centre for many years, has had a proverbial baptism of fire.
Nothing he has been able to do, even with help from Exeter's own ground staff last month, has managed to prevent three postponements already.
Meanwhile, chairman Baker reckons that it would cost around £750,000 to install one of the latest fourth generation all-weather pitches at Plainmoor, an investment that the club would probably recoup, with week-long use, in five or six years.
The problem is that it would require permission from the League, and that looks unlikely in the near-future at least.