THE County Ground pitch should be able to withstand today’s forecast downpours and play host to the Valentine’s Day visit of Colchester United as scheduled.

Swindon Town’s groundstaff were yesterday able to get machinery onto the playing surface in SN1 to help spike the turf, speeding up drainage, ahead of several hours of predicted rain on Friday.

No inspection was planned when the Advertiser went to print last night and manager Mark Cooper praised head groundsman Marcus Cassidy and his team for getting the pitch to its current state.

“I’ve had a look and our pitch looks fine,” he said. “Marcus has done brilliantly to get it as it is at the moment. I’ve been speaking to him on a daily basis and the concern is playing Friday and Monday.

“He’s done a lot of work, he’s had the pitch aerated so the water runs straight through rather than collecting on the top so if we get lots more rain it’s going to be heavy but I don’t think there’ll be any doubt about the game.”

With Peterborough United arriving at the County Ground within three days of the Colchester clash, there are some worries that the playing surface will churn up ahead of perhaps Town’s most crucial game of the season, with a place at Wembley at stake.

However, given his side’s recent performances on boggy pitches at London Road and Vale Park, Cooper remains unconcerned.

“We’ve arguably played our best football on a heap of a pitch at Peterborough and a heap of a pitch at Vale Park,” he said. “We all want to play on Wembley every week but we can’t have it.

“We don’t train on anything like we play on so we get on with it, whatever it is.”

The terrible weather has been affecting Swindon’s preparations for their long footballing weekend, with the squad still having to train on 3G at Lydiard Academy.

“We’ve not been able to get on any grass at all but I’d think that’d be the same for most teams so we get on with it, we’re thankful for Lydiard Academy and the help they’ve given us,” said Cooper.