PAOLO Di Canio has stated that Simon Ferry will play a major role for his team in League One next season, if he can merge an element of responsibility with his playful character.

The Swindon manager handed the midfielder the captain’s armband during the second half of last night’s 9-1 win against a local select XI at the Robins’ training base near Lake Garda, pairing Alan Navarro and Tommy Miller in the centre of the park for the opening 45 minutes of the crushing victory.

Ferry’s omission in the first period may have raised a few eyebrows, but Di Canio stressed after the game that the Scot will still be at the forefront of his thinking when he looks to guide his team to back-to-back promotions.

“Sometimes when you start the second half you can put your head down, but I told him it’s no coincidence that in the second half I gave him the armband,” said Di Canio.

“He’s one of the main parts of the squad. He has to become more mature in some way. At times I like his fun way to approach something because you need this kind of character in the middle of groups.

“Now he has to feel the responsibilities, even if he doesn’t play like last year when maybe his record was most of everyone’s – maybe if he plays 35, 40, 24, maybe 46 - he has to know he is one of the main parts of the squad and he has to feel the responsibility every single moment and not only when he plays.

“Today I wanted to see straight away the new players but Simon is at the same level, in line with them, so I’m not worried.”

Meanwhile, the Advetiser understands midfielder Jonathan Smith will soon re-sign for former club York.

Smith, who only arrived in Wiltshire from Bootham Crescent last summer, has been transfer-listed by Di Canio after the Town boss decided he was not part of his plans for 2012/13.

Finally, striker Alan Connell – another of those told to find a new club by Swindon this off-season – is believed to be interesting two League One clubs.

Scunthorpe and Stevenage are understood to be heading the chase for the frontman’s signature.