HAVING been training in difficult conditions at Liddington for much of the season, Swindon Town are well set to deal with a quagmire of a playing surface at Meadow Lane tomorrow, according to manager Mark Cooper.
Notts County’s home ground is in a terrible state with two games of the League One season remaining, and drew the Magpies’ boss, Shaun Derry to completely alter his tactics in an effort to secure the points his side needs to avoid relegation.
Derry admitted that it was “an awful, awful pitch to play on” earlier this week, saying he was forced to “bypass midfield” en route to a 1-0 victory over Crawley Town.
That can’t be encouraging news for Swindon, whose on-the-deck, passing style of football will most likely struggle against the ruts and rivets beside the River Trent. However, Cooper believes the uncomfortable pitches at the club’s training ground will offer them a chance to prepare themselves for what is present to them on Saturday.
“We’ve certainly had the right preparation with our training pitch, so that should stand us in good stead,” he said. “Of course you have to adapt to certain situations and yes, we will try to adapt. We’re well aware of the way the pitch is and we will try to adapt to that and that may reflect in our team selection and a certain part of our tactics.
“We’re not silly enough that we think we can go to Meadow Lane and play perfection in terms of back to front football for 90 minutes of the game.
“It’s going to be a very difficult opponent, we know that, but we’re in good form at the minute and there’s no pressure on us because we can’t get relegated. If things went unbelievably well we could get in the play-offs.”
Of Derry’s comments, Cooper said: “He will know I know the pitch is bad because obviously I’ve seen games there and I think his comments were after another good win where they had to play more direct. He’s just being brutally honest that the pitch is not good enough for a League One standard, but you have to deal with it.”
Six wins in seven league outings has kept Town’s slim hopes of reaching the play-offs alive and Cooper revealed that he still has to keep his players’ feet on the ground.
He said: “I think they feel as though they’re in a good moment and you just have to remind them about certain days - Carlisle or Oldham, where we’ve not really performed - certain occasions when you go away and you’re not really there. We remind them of that and tell them in any game of football you have to earn the right to play. That’s what we’ve done when we’ve been successful.
“We’re just reinforcing beliefs and what’s made us have the run of success we’ve had.
“We have to keep reinforcing that, keep working at it, we have to look at Notts County and their pitch before we decide what the team is.
“I don’t think we’re the kind of group to get carried away.
“We’re just going to try to replicate what we’ve been doing, which is playing quite well.
“We’ve just got to try to win two games. We want to finish the season as strongly as we can and see what happens.
“Honestly, we’re not worrying about Peterborough.
“The only pressure we have is to play as well as we have been.”
“We’re worrying about playing as well as we can in what will be a very difficult game against a team that have to get a result to stay in the league.”