PAOLO Di Canio currently sees himself choosing his first starting XI of the new season from a pool of 14 players, following the 6-1 win at Weston-super-Mare last night.
The Swindon manager once again made several changes to his side over the course of the 90 minutes at the Woodspring Stadium, with Matt Ritchie, Andy Williams, James Collins, Raffa De Vita and Paul Benson getting the goals which saw off the Weston challenge.
However, Di Canio revealed after the game that his starting line-up for the fixture, plus a handful of players who came on during the second period, are the individuals he sees as integral to his plans at present.
“I played that starting XI not because they would be in the starting XI for the first official game but obviously most of them are in my mind for the starting XI,” he said.
“We have to be honest, we have 24 at the moment but thinking about the starting XI there are two, three, four players (from the second half team) that deserve to start from the kick-off.
“At the moment we have 14 players that deserve to play in the starting XI. I hope I can have in the next few weeks maybe 17 that deserve to play in the starting XI.
“At the moment I have maybe 14, maximum 15.”
One player who may well not be part of that group is left-back Alessandro Cibocchi, after the Italian was substituted just 17 minutes after coming on as a half-time replacement at Weston.
Di Canio was scathing in his criticism of Cibocchi’s mental preparation for the match, but he said the defender still has the ability to force his way into his plans for the assault on League One.
“In the way he approached the game it was absolutely rubbish. I told him ‘go out’ because we are not on the beach, we are here to play football and behave as a professional,” said Di Canio.
“I understand somebody can have a problem but in the way he approached the game it was an absolute disaster mentally and in one minute he made something that one player should not do in a year – the mistake, three in a row in a very rubbish way.
“He knows me, it’s better if he sees that because there are other players who deserve to play and I don’t give any more gifts to anyone.
“I think he is a player who can stay in the group of the team in League One but it’s obvious now I will take my decision because he is a professional, when we train he trains hard, he doesn’t moan, he knows how to behave but there is the main part that is the game that gives me the information.
“Fortunately we have 25 days to go so we can recover from the mistakes we made in terms of approach, mentally or physically or tactically.”