PAOLO Di Canio is looking forward to two weeks without a game following this afternoon’s trip to Notts County, suggesting the fortnight’s break could improve Swindon Town’s league position by as much as four places come the end of the season.
Having been dumped out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle by non-league Macclesfield earlier this month, Town do not have a fixture next Saturday.
The next time the Robins line up for competitive action will be the League One clash with Doncaster on December 8, and Di Canio plans to use the downtime as a mini pre-season as he looks to re-energise his squad ahead of the busy Christmas period.
“I want to play in every competition but we are not in the cups. I have to take the positives and it has given us the chance after Saturday to have two weeks without a game,” he said.
“I can give more lessons to the new guys and then I can build the fitness that in December and January will be crucial once again for us.
“Two weeks for any injury gives you the chance to get someone to be close to coming back into the squad. Then it takes one, two or three games to get fit. But for someone that is very close - Andy Williams, for example - it’s an opportunity to not only come back and be full-time with the squad but also to build a sort of pre-season.
“Since the day he came back he didn’t have a proper training session because he was involved straight away against Aston Villa and then we played continuously for a few games.
“It’s good for me for all these reasons. I would like to play in the cup; unfortunately this is not possible so I will look really positively on this period.
“I’m sure that it will be crucial, not for thinking about winning the title but for having a good season. If our destiny is to finish 14th in the table, for sure with this period we are going to build a chance if we don’t have another injury crisis to finish four places above.
“If our destiny is 10th maybe we’ll finish sixth. I believe in this. I don’t want to predict because of many reasons. We will look at it week by week.”
Regardless of the result at Meadow Lane this afternoon, the break will do Swindon some good, according to their manager.
“It is an opportunity for us, in case something goes wrong, to cancel it straight away,” he said.
“A negative chain is difficult to break straight away. Usually you can say it is beautiful to play every three days because it gives you the chance to make up for a bad performance that you made previously, but sometimes, especially at the beginning of the season, you can go on a bad run for more games.
“If we win I’m happy because we’ll go to the break with a victory, in a comfortable position which is amazing for us, and have a chance to work hard and prepare ourselves for the hard winter.
“If we draw or if we don’t perform well it is an occasion to mentally switch off the pressure and work so hard to prepare ourselves again physically and tactically.”