I can’t remember a pre-season that I have enjoyed quite so much and been as excited about for quite some time (maybe as far back as the Dennis Wise short era), as a long suffering Swindon fan, writes James Spencer.

It has to be said the mood probably could not have got any worse after the disaster of last season, but with all the changes in personnel in both the management team and new players it appears that the past has well and truly been forgotten and the slate wiped clean and a new dawn is rising over SN1.

In a sense the arrival of Paulo Di Canio is very much good timing for the Italian and it gives him an excellent opportunity to show what he can do as a manager and coach at a club that has learnt from it's mistakes and is on the up again.

Firstly I attended the club open day with the other 5999 fans and what a wonderfully well organised and attended event it was, I especially enjoyed the interview with Paulo and the coaching staff on the main stage and also the largest team photo which I am looking forward to seeing the end result from soon.

It was obvious to see how much the town fans have already taken Paolo to their heart and his passion and desire and overall professionalism shine through.

It was a great day and is a credit to the club on how professional it was and the events and activities were very well received, it also helped it was a cracking day weather wise.

Maybe this is an omen for the coming season in that brighter things are to come… Let’s hope so.

The team have really come together and the recent additions of Alan Connell, Alan McCormack and the tricky winger Etienne Esajas all certainly look like good additions.

In my eyes we just need a bit more cover on the wing for Matt Ritchie and Esajas and crucially a big forward to play alongside Raffaele De Vita/Connell.

Last week, like many other town fans I made my way to Cirencester Town to see the new team play and what a great night it was.

I have to say I was massively impressed with how professional Cirencester Town are as a club, all the way from the parking attendants directing the large number of vehicles into the overflow car park, all the way up to the general operation of the club was a real credit to lower league football.

The game didn’t disappoint too, it was a slow start by town but our quality started to shine through as did our superior fitness as the game went on and we eventually romped to a comfortably 4-0 win.

It was a good showing from the boys and I was especially impressed with De Vita, Connell, J.Smith and Ritchie, also Esajas looked very lively until he unfortunately damaged his shoulder in an odd challenge that didn’t seem to be too serious initially, it would appear his shoulder popped out and now he will miss the start of the season, a great shame for the lad especially as he only signed his contract that same day.

Let’s hope he has more luck during the season and recovers quickly.

So in summing up things look good for the town, we have a good squad of players and passionate and knowledgeable coaching staff, great desire and anticipation from the fans and I am sure we will do well this season.

I am now going to stick my neck out and say that I feel we will get promoted this season, I don’t know if we will win the league but I am confident we will be in the top three, my other teams to watch include Crawley and Bristol Rovers.

I went with a friend to see Rovers play Burnley a few weeks back and they beat them comfortably 2-0 and looked very good, it pains me to say it but I think they will be our main competition this season with the big spending Crawley.

I am really looking forward to the first league game of the season against Crewe and also the closely followed game in the cup against Bristol City; let’s hope for two wins from these games.

Until next time.