MARK Cooper thinks Swindon Town’s players will benefit from not having a fixture on New Year’s Day as they prepare for a crucial second half to the 2013/14 campaign.

A waterlogged pitch at the County Ground forced Wednesday’s clash with Crawley Town to be postponed, meaning the Robins will now have a 13-day gap between their last match - the 1-1 draw at Bradford - and the visit of Peterborough on January 11.

With several players struggling with injuries and illness in recent days, however, Cooper is pleased to have the extra time to coax his squad back to health.

“I think it could have a positive effect for us because it gives them a chance to clear up any niggles, any knocks, it gives the lads who have been out injured a chance to get back and a chance mentally to have a break and make sure when we come back we’re really fresh,” he said.

“The players we’ve got are naturally sharp, they’re lively so we’re not too worried about that. Next week we’ll work all the way up to the Peterborough game and nothing will change.

“We may give them a couple of days off now but we’re focused on Peterborough and making sure we’re ready to try to get three points off them because if we do that makes it really interesting.

“Mike Cooper becomes important, the sports scientist. He monitors their heart rate in terms of what zone they need to be training in, but I will try to do it by eye as well and recognise who needs to be eased up and who needs to be pushed on a little bit.

“We’ve got a really fit bunch and the youthfulness of the squad aids that. I’ve got no worries of them being in anything other than top fitness and fettle for Peterborough.

“We’ll be able to see straight away who tires quicker and we’ll either ease up on them or push them that little bit further. But I think a couple of days off will help everybody, it will help clear up the illnesses and niggles and clear the mind.”