“BRING them on” – that’s the mindset of Swindon Town defender Jonathan Grounds as he searches for match sharpness in a hectic October schedule of games for the club.

The 32-year-old only signed for Town on September 17 and had not played a game since leaving Birmingham City at the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

However, with injuries to centre-backs Zeki Fryers and Dion Conroy, Grounds was forced to make his debut away at Peterborough United before starting the EFL Trophy contest against Exeter City and the League One defeat to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.

In all three showings, the Thornaby-born defender has shown he may well be one of Richie Wellens’ best signings this year, but the man himself still feels he has a way to go before he can be considered the finished article.

Grounds said: “I’m still lacking timing and match fitness. You can do as much work as you want on the training ground, but you can’t ever really replicate that intensity of games.

“So ‘bring them on’, that’s my mindset – the more games I play, the better for me.

“Getting 60 minutes against Peterborough, and two 90 minutes last week – I know I’m going to get stronger.

“Confidence within myself would be the main thing that I’ve lost over the time I’ve been out, but the more games I play, the more touches of the ball I get, the more blocks, the more headers and things like that that I do, I feel like I’m going to get better and better.”

As well as personal improvement, Grounds is also aiming to be a part of Town’s first clean sheet of the season.

Richie Wellens’ men have conceded 19 goals in eight games this campaign, and Grounds wants to see the first number remain at a standstill for as long as possible.

He said: “A clean sheet is something I want to get as soon as possible having got into the team now.

“On Saturday, that was probably the least amount of chances we’ve given away all season, so hopefully we’re working towards that.

“It does feel like it’s coming together a little bit, but in the three games that I’ve played it’s been different personnel every time.

“Hopefully, we can settle into some kind of regular back four soon.

“But the more games we play together and the more time we spend with each other on the training ground, that can only benefit us.”