CITY remain "quietly confident" that the show will go on for Simon Grayson's first home game tomorrow.

But with more rain forecast tonight, groundsman Mick Doyle and his staff face a race against time to ensure Valley Parade is playable.

The club are pulling out all the stops ahead of the MK Dons clash to avoid a second successive postponement.

The grounds team will hand-fork the pitch throughout the day because using machines would damage the surface.

Facilities and operations manager Paula Watson said: "The issue is the level of water on the pitch and what we do between now and 2pm tomorrow.

"If you remember the pictures from Rochdale before they did the pitch, you saw the tractor marks. That was from trying to drain it with a machine.

"You can do some real long-term damage if you fork it wrong.

"The decisions we make have always got to balance the next game and the rest of the season.

"It's going to be an awful lot of work but Mick's not panicking. We're quietly confident but it is all dependent on how heavy tonight's rain is.

"We saw on Wednesday night how the weather forecast can suddenly change in a few hours. If we get a real blast, it will be difficult."

The covers have not been on the pitch this week because they are only frost resistant, not waterproof, and would not have made any difference with yesterday's snow fall.

Calverley Golf Club also lent City a pro corer, which puts tiny spikes into the pitch and helps with drainage in the top layer of soil.

City plan to ring referee Ben Toner out of courtesy this afternoon but will resist any pitch inspection for as long as possible.

Watson said: "The forecast says it's due to stop raining at 10am tomorrow. The difference my ground staff could make with the pitch between then and 1pm is phenomenal.

"So we have to manage the ref that way and ask him to hold off making any decision. It's not something we want to do early – and we all want to see Simon Grayson's debut."

City have also had to deal with burst water pipes in the concourse toilets which caused flooding through the ceilings into reception, the 1911 suite, boardroom, Legends suite, ticket office and Hendrie suite.

Meanwhile, Colin Doyle is among four goalkeepers named in the Republic of Ireland's provisional squad for their friendly against Turkey in Antalya on March 23.