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SWINDON TOWN: Draw your weapon
SWINDON Town must be able to dig out draws on the occasions they do not play well if they are to mount a serious promotion challenge this season, according to manager Paolo Di Canio.
The Robins boss, who highlighted Stevenage’s overall record last year as a prime example of what draws can do for a team with ambitions of making the top six, was hugely disappointed by the nature of recent home defeats to Leyton Orient and Colchester.
Di Canio stressed that Boro, who came sixth last term, managed nine fewer victories over the course of the campaign than third-placed Sheffield United and three fewer than Notts County in seventh.
But it was the Broadhall Way side’s happy habit of grinding out a point and refusing to be beaten that secured them a play-off place – a character trait he wants his Swindon team to develop as soon as possible, starting perhaps at Bury this afternoon.
“A good team, a strong team, should go out with a point - not a victory, a point. Now we should be one point from second place and we had the chance,” he said.
“With Colchester, we played one of the worst games in terms of keeping the ball and pressing the opponent, and with the fire they put in they deserved to win, but Wes (Foderingham) didn’t have to save one ball.
“Wes, with Colchester and with Leyton Orient, not one save. The only real chances we conceded in those two games was (Kevin) Lisbie in the first half against Leyton Orient. The goal was our gift, it was a comedy goal.
“In two games we played very badly. Colchester didn’t create anything, they arrived better than us at the edge of the box and a good team should go out for a point.
“If you can’t win, you have to get a point. “My concern is three times we have gone down and we were not capable to react, at home we were worse.
“A good team in a bad day can maintain the focus, the discipline and say ‘we hope to be the victor but if we can’t we will get one point and move the table, not another defeat’.
“Last year Stevenage finished eighth in the table with 18 or 19 draws - 19 draws and only eighteen victories, which is not a big number to be finishing in the top six. Sheffield United got 27 and didn’t go up.
“Eighteen draws. You have to draw some games and not lose because those two games are the two we should draw.”
Di Canio accepted that Town’s exertions in the Capital One Cup, where they have seen off three teams from higher divisions to reach round four, may have affected his side’s overall league performance.
But he is not about to let his players use success in one competition as an excuse for failure in another.
“At the moment we have some limits but, not to give to my players an alibi, we are the only League One side that has not only played their league games but has also played three cup games that was expensive in terms of physical and mental,” he said.
“What it means for my players is not an excuse. We have to give ourselves pressure otherwise it will be difficult.
“We can improve a lot, at the moment we’ve got this limit. If we didn’t have this limit we would be Barcelona, always at the top, beating everybody. We believe in hard work.”
SWINDON’S youngsters will host Sholing or neighbours Chippenahm Town in the first round of the FA Youth Cup.
A date has yet to be confirmed for the County Ground tie, but it must be played before November 3.