PAOLO Di Canio is to offer trialist Ibrahim Atiku a permanent contract with Swindon Town, the Italian has told the Advertiser.
The 28-year-old Ghanaian midfielder has been with the club for over a week and, like Oliver Risser, has settled in well with the rest of the players.
Atiku has looked useful at the pre-season training camp so far and though Di Canio already has a wealth of options in midfield, the Town boss could potentially be looking at alternative positions for the former Ghana youth international, having utilised him just behind the main striker in an inter-squad practice match yesterday.
And Di Canio has been impressed with what he has seen of Atiku so far and is hopeful he and Risser will sign contracts with the club in the coming days.
“Atiku is a good professional and he is a player who can help us a lot,” Di Canio said. “He has a lot of quality and sometimes you can see he likes to joke, but on the pitch you can see he is focused as a player.
“They (Atiku and Risser) already feel a part of the squad. For them it is like they have been here for 20 years and the club is in their skin.”
A contract is already on the table for Risser, with the player and Di Canio waiting for interim chairman Jeremy Wray and Nick Watkins to arrive in Norcia this week to complete the formalities of the deal.
Di Canio has spoken highly of Risser since he came to the club last week, and the Namibia international looks to have the potential to be an important player next season.
“Risser is an animal," added the Town boss. "Not just when you look at his physicality but also the way he works on the field.
“He gives 200 per cent and sometimes we have to keep him quiet because he will use all his energy inside the dressing room.
“We want to have people who will push themselves beyond their limits. Everything we ask him to do he does to his best. For example if we want the players to take one minute to run somewhere, he runs it in 50 seconds.
“I want this kind of professional attitude rather than lazy people, but he is also a good footballer with good presence and technique, and I believe he will be a very important player.”