RETURNING midfielder Alan Navarro has hailed the dedication and attention to detail of manager Paolo Di Canio during a time of upheaval both for the Italian and Swindon Town.

The 31-year-old made his first appearance in a Town shirt for nearly four months during the 1-0 victory away at Colchester on Tuesday night, having injured his knee in the 2-2 draw with Coventry on October 13.

While Navarro has been battling to get back in Di Canio’s side, the Town boss has had to deal with seeing star man Matt Ritchie sold and moves to bring in three players foiled by the Football League, which has led him to consider his future at the County Ground.

Summer signing Navarro has been impressed with the way the former West Ham striker has dealt with it all, and maintained his focus on preparing the Town side as the race for promotion from League One hots up.

“The gaffer has gone about doing everything he’s been doing in exactly the right way, and at the end of the day he has a job to do to prepare us for the game,” he said.

“Despite everything that has been going on that’s exactly what he’s done, and we have been given our video clips in as much detail as usual and we have been given it all as normal.

“He’s a workaholic and that is exactly how he does things, and we weren’t expecting anything else.

“It’s our job to put his work and the way he is out on the field, and I think you can see on the pitch that his hard work and dedication is rubbing off on us.”

The former Tranmere and Brighton man was one of only 15 fit players who travelled to Essex due to illness and injury, but the midfielder insisted the size of the squad is nothing for fans to be concerned about.

“It was still 11 players going out on the pitch, so it doesn’t really matter how many we have travelling or how many are in the squad,” he said.

“The fans may see it and think it’s a bit funny and be concerned, but we are professionals and we get on with it.

“At the end of the day you can only make three subs anyway, so it doesn’t change that.

“The only thing is maybe you don’t have the different options available from the bench, but we have all done a professional job and come away with three points.

“It was a huge win for us because of what has happened and how bad the pitch was, and we take a lot of confidence from the win.”

Navarro is still short of match-fitness following his long lay-off, but was pleased to get out on the field at the Weston Homes Community Stadium having been an unused substitute in the previous five games.

“It has obviously been frustrating, and that’s the same for any player in any squad,” he said.

“I have had to be patient because the guys have all been playing really well in recent games, but time has come where the gaffer thinks it’s my turn for some game time and I am of course pleased about that.”