A NEW era will dawn at the Energy Check County Ground this weekend when Swindon Town host their first fan zone ahead of the visit of Carlisle United in League Two.

Supporters are being encouraged to turn up to SN1 early, with the fan zone – taking place behind the Don Rogers stand – set to get under way at 1.30pm.

A giant inflatable pitch, face painting and a live DJ will keep younger reds entertained, while the club has teamed up with Arkells Ales to offer the first 120 supporters through the fan zone gate a complimentary drink.

The move is part of the club’s plan to build atmosphere outside the stadium on match days, while also increasing levels of engagement with the community and the team’s fanbase.

Danny Lee, head of ticketing at Swindon Town, told the Adver that a match ticket or season card will gain supporters free entry to the fan zone.

He added: “It’s great for us to launch this and get people in early to soak up the pre-match atmosphere.

“From 1.30pm, supporters will be able to make the most of the entertainment on offer and we hope this adds to the matchday experience at the County Ground.

“There will be food outlets, a DJ, face painting, sweet stands and more.”

The club has linked up with Swindon Town Football in the Community to deliver the fan zone – and it’s possible that members of the first-team squad will be on hand to add to the occasion.

Lee hopes being able to play football in the shadows of the County Ground before kick-off will inspire youngsters to play for their hometown club in the future.

He added: “With the community hub now based next to the County Ground, it makes everything work much easier logistically.

“Players don’t have to go off to Marlborough or another area of Swindon when interacting with the community. It’s easy for them now, they can pop over to spend time with the youngsters.

“And that’s great for them – to train in eyesight of the football stadium gives them something to aspire towards.”

The club is aware of the yellow weather warning for wind and rain issued by the MET Office for Saturday, and will communicate with fans via their social media channels should the fan zone be called off for safety purposes.