SWINDON Town head coach Ben Garner revealed his squad have been practicing penalties ahead of Thursday night’s League Two play-off semi-final second leg against Port Vale.

Town take a one-goal lead into the game at Vale Park, therefore the chances of spot-kicks being needed to settle the two-legged affair are currently reasonably high.

Swindon have required penalties to decide three of their past four play-off semi-finals, with defeat against Brighton and Hove Albion preceding victory over Charlton Athletic and a loss to Brentford.

Garner stated that while the key target is to win the game as a standalone fixture, his team is prepared for all eventualities – including the dreaded penalty shoot-out.

Garner said: “To be honest, the players have been practicing [penalties] quite a bit after each training session.

“There’s a group that have been doing it properly, walking from the half-way line and all the rest of it.

“They’ve been giving some verbal abuse to each other, shall we say, to put a bit more pressure on it – that’s been good.

“We will practice as a group [on Wednesday] – I’m very, very hopeful it won’t come to that, but we are preparing for all eventualities.”

With the thinnest of advantages heading into the second leg, Garner is keen for his team to extend its lead early as possible rather than sitting in and trying to defend wave after wave of Port Vale attacks.

The Valiants are likely to come out all guns blazing due to being behind on aggregate, but the Town boss insists his team will try to take the initiative in a bid to numb the potential sting of an early Vale goal.

He said: “Our mindset is that we want them to have to weather a storm from us at the start of the game.

“We want to start on the front foot, we want to be the aggressor straight away, we want to be the team attacking.

“We’re certainly not going there to see it out and soak up pressure – that’s not us, that’s not the way we play.

“Yes, they’ll be determined, and they’ll come out fighting because obviously they’ve got to chase the game, but we’ll be doing the same. We’ll be going there to win and attack from the first whistle.”