DARREN Ward is convinced that very few Football League sides would spend a fortnight’s leave of absence from competitive action quite like Paolo Di Canio’s Swindon Town.

The Robins are without a fixture until the visit of Doncaster on December 8, having been dumped out of the FA Cup by Macclesfield in round one last month, but they haven’t been allowed to rest easy during their mini-break.

Instead, Di Canio has been putting his squad through rigorous double training sessions in a rehashed version of pre-season.

Unsurprisingly, Ward revealed that it has been a strenuous period for the players but he does not think other clubs would go through the same process in the same circumstances.

And therefore he feels the extra exertions can only stand Town in good stead going into the busy Christmas period.

“It’s been a very tough week in terms of training. The players have worked very, very hard,” he said.

“It’s always nice to have a good week’s training going into a game but we’ve got to carry this on for another week and keep working hard to improve.

“Double sessions but the players have got on with it and trained very hard, we really have, for long days which I can’t see many teams doing and it can only benefit us.

“We have been working very hard and the loans coming in have had a taste of what it’s about. It is a big test for everyone, not only for the players who have come in, because a lot of the players have had many games and we do train very hard here.

“It’s good for team bonding as well because when you have hard sessions like this and long weeks then everyone gets together and keeps pushing each other to retain or even improve their fitness.

“I think we’ve got to have one eye on that game (Doncaster) and the players need to focus on that target, which is to win that game.

“To have a good, two-week period to focus on what we’re going to do is important.”