AN INTENSE training schedule has been no problem for Swindon Town midfielder Jack Payne or any of his teammates this season due to high team-spirit and a good deal of success.

The energetic centre-midfielder scored twice against Walsall last weekend to set up a play-off semi-final double-header with Port Vale.

Post-match, head coach Ben Garner admitted he has trained the players really hard this year in a bid to make up lost time because of a highly-truncated pre-season.

Payne said he had not minded the heavy workload as spending time with both the squad and coaching staff has been a pleasure rather than a chore.

He said: “To be honest, I’ve enjoyed the schedule this year. We’ve been in loads, but when you’re doing well it always makes things easier.

“You believe in what the manager and the staff are doing because it’s working. We know we’re playing well, and a lot of players have individually had really good seasons as well as the team.

“You can’t complain, and to be honest, with the lads we’ve got I enjoy being around them every day.

“Even the days when they do give us a bit of an earlier leave, all of the lads stick around anyway because we all enjoy each other’s company.

“We see each other outside of football too, so we’ve got no problems in terms of the schedule. We all love it.”

With Town’s season threatening to fizzle out in early April, Payne and co. recorded five wins in six games to book a play-off spot.

The performances in each of the wins demonstrated the togetherness of not only the squad but everyone associated with Swindon Town too.

Asked how much it helps when a squad genuinely gets on with the people they’re playing with, Payne said: “It’s everything.

“I think, from a coach’s point of view, you can give all the information and all the detail you want, but if the group aren’t together and they don’t believe in each other then it goes to waste.

“I think you need a good group, it’s massive. If you look at all successful teams, they will all have a good group.

“It’s very rare, if ever, that a group don’t get on but they’re able to perform on the pitch.”