PAOLO Di Canio believes tonight’s friendly at Swindon Supermarine will highlight the progress which has been made during the off-season to the club’s fans.

While hundreds of loyal Town fans have travelled to the club’s pre-season fixtures at Weston and Forest Green so far this summer, close to 3,000 are expected to make the short trip to the Webbs Wood Stadium this evening, with many getting their first glimpse of the Italian’s new-look squad.

Di Canio is excited to be playing so close to home, and believes the game offers a good opportunity for the club’s fans to see how his side’s preparations for the coming season are progressing.

“It is important to have this in Swindon so lots of people can come and understand what is going on, and to see what level we are reaching at the moment,” he said.

“Already we have a fantastic following, and last time 750 fans came one hour and 10 minutes on a day when people are working.

“So there is a big expectation and this is exciting me even if I want to keep people’s feet on the ground, because I prefer this atmosphere.

“It is good for everybody to come and see the team and the new players, and discover what we are doing.

“I know in the stadium last time the game was delayed by half an hour, but this time it will be okay, and it will be a good match for sure.”

The Italian is hoping to step up his side’s League One preparations tonight, and is expecting to see an improvement from his players.

“Last time was different to the previous friendly games because five or six players played for 70 minutes and it’s obvious I will keep going in this direction, but it depends on how they are feeling or if some receive a knock,” he said.

“My line now is this one, so someone can play 85 minutes or even 90, and someone can play maybe 45, but I will decide in the moment.

“It is a game where I want to see improvement in the way we play, in the last game I saw many more positive things than negative, but we always have to improve our play.”

Di Canio is also pleased to be able to help out Swindon’s leading non-league club, and believes the gate receipts will go a long way towards funding the coming season.

“In this situation we can help them like we did last time, and they thanked us because there were nearly 3,000.

“You can imagine if they get £30,000 it is very helpful for them, and maybe it can be the wages for many months.

“We always want to help, because we will be helping another squad and another team which belongs to Swindon.

“We are happy because we can have a good test, and the fans will be able to see our new players and our new team.”