Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text SWINDON NEWS to 80360 or email us
SWINDON TOWN: Town gear up for Weston test
TOWN boss Paolo Di Canio is hoping his side’s hastily arranged friendly at Weston-super-Mare will give his players the chance to quickly re-acclimatise to English conditions.
The Swindon squad have spent the last two weeks on the club’s pre-season tour of Italy playing in intense heat, but will be more at home when they travel to the Woodspring Stadium for a game added to Town’s fixture list little over two weeks ago.
The Italian learnt a lot about his squad during the fortnight in his homeland, but is looking forward to seeing his players perform in more familiar condition. “I asked Nick (Watkins) if we had a chance to arrange a friendly game straight after we were back in England,” he said.
“Obviously I didn’t want to have a tough, tough one because, even if we had played against Bayern Munich at altitude, I wanted to see my players play.
“I want them to handle the situation in new weather after the previous two weeks under 35 or 34 degrees. I want to see them play in more comfortable conditions.
“The pitch is very good, the side is a competitive side so this is why we asked to play against them.
“It’s obvious that in the last two games I saw we had to work, and they were important tests because I saw my players under stress in terms of fatigue.
“They confirmed to me that I signed the players I wanted so for this I was happy, and every game, especially at the beginning of the season when you sign some new players, gives you information about how to work with them individually and collectively to improve them, and to impove the way they have to play with the rest of their teammates.
Di Canio has a full squad available for tonight’s game, but is set to resist the temptation to change his entire team at half-time as he did during Town’s two games on their tour of Italy.
“Last time I was a liar because I said we’ll give to some players 60 or 65 minutes, but once I saw them play in the first half there wasn’t a reason to keep going - they were very tired,” he said.
“You learn as a manager that sometimes you make a plan and then you have to be ready to change because things maybe don’t go in the way you want.
“So I was a bit of a liar, not because I decided to be a liar but because once I discovered it was going to be very difficult for them I decided to play each one for 45 minutes.
“This time I don’t want to say for sure but 90 per cent I will give some players 60 minutes. Obviously it’s different weather, they have a few more days in their legs, more resistance and they can play a bit more.
“I will decide during the first half which players will play a bit more in the second half.
“Everybody is available, we don’t have problems. It is natural to have some problems during pre-season, especially under us but at the moment we have only normal situations.”
Work is continuing to help the likes of Alan Connell, Lee Cox and Jonathan Smith seal moves away from the County Ground , but Di Canio did not give much away about any potential deals.
“I don’t want to talk about them, it’s not fair. They’re training with us now. I don’t want to lose my energy,” he said. “They’re here, they work with us - it’s obvious that in a tactical moment I made a decision because I want to look after my team and the future of the squad. “They train with the rest of the group and once they decide and accept some other situation we will shake hands with each other. Otherwise they train with us.”
Di Canio is also still receiving calls from players and agents wanting to be a part of Swindon’s promotion push, but the Italian is not feeling under pressure to add to his squad.
“There are many that want to come but it is not the moment. I told the chairman that I want to wait a bit more because I want to be sure,” he said.
“It is obvious that I am sure of the players I brought in, about their quality, but I want to be sure of the positions. “It’s obvious that Swindon is a club that a lot of players would come to straight away, I have received many text messages - some players, good players but they are not on our list now because I want to wait a bit more and then decide. “Last year I was under pressure, this year I am not because I am sure that once I decide to bring a player in - like it was with the players I have already brought in - it will be easy.”