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SWINDON TOWN: Di Canio ready to learn at Stoke
SWINDON Town will use the trip to Stoke in the second round of the Capital One Cup tonight as a learning experience, with manager Paolo Di Canio targeting the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy as the Robins’ best chance of silverware in 2012/13.
Town visit the Britannia Stadium keen to keep up the giant-killers reputation they achieved last season thanks to knocking five teams from higher leagues out of various competitions.
But Di Canio knows the physical Potters side will provide a stern examination of his players, and he has played down their chances of stealing a shock result.
Nevertheless, he told his squad that - if they have ambitions to ply their trade in the Premier League - they must show that they can handle themselves well against top-flight opposition.
“I can’t wait for my players because it is a fantastic test for them. In my team there are a group of players that one day they hope and they dream to play every Saturday in the Premiership,” he said.
“This is the right time to prove that we can go two steps forward, have a good test against one of the very good sides in the Premiership with quality, with knowledge, experience.
“We have to use the best players in this kind of match to help them improve what it means to play at the top level because we know, in reality, our FA Cup or League Cup is the JPT.
“We know that we want to go to Wembley in the JPT. We won’t want to give up, we want to go forward as much as we can even in the League Cup or FA Cup, but realistically we have to use this game just to test ourselves.”
Di Canio did not rule out an upset in the Potteries, where Stoke boss Tony Pulis is likely to tinker with his side after their goalless draw with Arsenal on Sunday.
In January, Di Canio enjoyed one of his best moments as a manager when Swindon dumped Wigan out of the FA Cup with a 2-1 victory at the County Ground , and the Italian would relish a similar result this evening.
“We love to do something special in our job,” he said.
“It’s obvious for us this game is an opportunity for my players to test themselves against a top side with top quality players that can read the game quickly.
“But, but, but we will see.”
Gary Roberts and Troy Archibald-Henville are unlikely to be involved once more through injury while Paul Benson is a doubt after missing the win over MK Dons on Saturday with a minor knock.
With four days of the transfer window remaining, Town are keen to bring in at least two more new faces to bolster their backline, but Di Canio insisted that was not playing on his mind ahead of the trip up the M6.
“We don’t want to be talking about new players, I am thinking about my players and then, if someone joins us, I will be happy,” he said.
“Otherwise I will prepare with my players.”