PAOLO Di Canio has praised Phil Spencer for his efforts in finding a new buyer for the club, insisting his agent “cares about the cause”.

Spencer, who plays a major role in player recruitment at the County Ground, has been intimately involved in the discussions with potential new investors after Swindon’s majority shareholder, Andrew Black, confirmed he wants to sell a large chunk of his 98 per cent stake in the club.

With a low public profile, Town fans do not know much about Spencer but Di Canio stressed that he has been a major figure in the talks of recent days.

He said: “He and Russell (Backhouse, Swindon Town director) together work very hard and that has to let all the people know, if there was some doubt, that even if it isn’t his job he cares about the cause.

“Like me he felt the cause straight away, because we are very close friends. Not only does he work for me but we are very close friends and he felt the cause. When he discovered there was a problem with members of the board straight away at the beginning of the season, he was down.

“The fact that we did a very good job last year and started very well meant it was a shame to discover this. He said to me ‘why can’t we find a way to help this club and this environment, the fans and the people because there is a big opportunity’.

“There is a big opportunity to keep going and do something special and maintain the plan we have here. They work so hard.

“Every day I wake up in the morning and then I receive a phone call which makes me think very positively. Obviously nothing is done but I’m happy because in the last few days every bit of news I’ve had was positive. We move one step forward.”

A deal could be completed as early as next week, as the relevant parties aim to agree a takeover and sign heads of terms before the end of January.

A domestic consortium is still believed to be the front-runner but the Advertiser understands three other potential new investors remain interested, one of which already has a major say in the running of a professional football club in Europe.

Sir William Patey, the current Town chairman, is expected to step down from his position as and when a buyer is found.

The Adver understands Patey’s resignation was discussed by the Robins’ board last weekend, while it is likely that any new owner would want to appoint their own chairman upon succession at the County Ground.