OFFICIALS of Welsh League Aberbargoed Buds believe playing on a 3G surface at the impressive £6million sports complex at Ystrad Mynach can help them become an established Division One side, writes Terry Daley.
Manager Adrian Needs guided the club to first-time promotion back to the top flight as runners-up to champions Barry Town United from their Recreation Ground home base.
Now just days after the end of the 2014-15 season, chairman John Lewis has confirmed Aberbargoed have accepted an invitation to apply to use the facilities, which were opened in February 2014, on the site of the town's former hospital.
"We had to say no to an approach from Caerphilly County Borough Council to use the 3G ground because the 2013-14 had already started," recalled Lewis, a former Aberbargoed player, manager and director-of-football.
"Now, however, the invitation in the form of a draft proposal for us to field our first team at the 3G facility has been taken up and it's not just about us using the pitch to avoid so many games being postponed.
"It's about progressing as a side and as a club and playing on such a surface will help us because of our style of play - we want to make an impact in Division One and don't simply want to survive at that level.
"It will also help us because we fielded eight sides last season and that much maintenance at our home ground is a lot in terms of time and money.
"We will still use out base for our age-level sides, but this proposed move for out firsts is important to us and it was a unanimous decision by our committee to apply."
Aberbargoed were relegated after their only Division One season in 2013-14, but have bounced straight back under former Ebbw Vale player Needs, who guided AFC Porth to a League Cup triumph in the same campaign.
They won 22 of their 30 fixtures and scored 77 goals, only one less than Barry Town United, with Tom McCarthy netting 27 and Scott Armitage 12.
Lewis, a former Newport County, Cardiff City, Swansea City and Wales under-21 midfielder, concluded by explaining news of the club's application will be be discussed by the council next month.
* Another newly-promoted Division One club, Risca United, have also confirmed they are in the process of applying to use the Ystrad Mynach facilities, although club officials do not wish to comment further at this stage.