HAVING taken the time to reflect on Swindon Town’s first 20 games of the League One campaign, manager Paolo Di Canio has come to the conclusion that his side only “fully deserved” to lose on one occasion.
The Robins have so far been beaten six times in the league this term - by Crewe, Colchester, Leyton Orient, Notts County, Preston and Brentford - but Di Canio is convinced that his team were only outplayed in the 4-1 thrashing at Deepdale back in September.
Otherwise, the Italian is of the opinion that Swindon have had the better of possession, territory and chances in each of their defeats and that, he feels, bodes well for the visit of Doncaster this week.
Donny have won their last four league matches and, while Town’s defensive record at the County Ground is the second stingiest in the division with just seven goals conceded, only Tranmere, Yeovil and Notts County have scored more goals on their travels than tomorrow’s guests.
It makes for an intriguing prospect, and one Di Canio is confident his players will rise to.
“The last few days was a big opportunity for me to be more cool and read more into what has happened since the beginning of the season,” he said.
“In the six games we lost only one we fully deserved to lose - Preston. It’s clear. The other five, in terms of occasion, even against Leyton Orient and Brentford it wasn’t the best day but to be honest the opponents were never on top.
“It was 50-50, more 60-40 for us in terms of chances in front of the goal and we didn’t go through. What we’re missing at the moment is not about play.
“Yes, when we are playing a big name we are not going to miss our chance to play with maximum desire and when we play with maximum desire and concentration we are not worried about anybody.
“The problem was since the beginning whether we were capable of doing this against any side.
“We lost four games 1-0 and of those games not one we deserved to lose, not in terms of football expression but in terms of chances we created.
“It’s not about Doncaster or Leyton Orient, it’s about the fire we create. The fact that they are second, it’s a big name, I’m sure after two weeks there is a desire to run, to play, to focus and Doncaster is an extra motivation for my players.
“Two games ago we were one point different. They won two, we lost two and now we are seven points different.
“That is the difference at the moment. The last two games we lost six points. It means that we can play against them on our day like we can play against a Premiership side.”
With Jay McEveley, Alan McCormack and Federico Bessone all ruled out of the clash, Di Canio will have to name a makeshift back four on Saturday.
Joe Devera is expected to start at left-back, a position he filled in the 4-0 at Stevenage in October, and in the short-term his manager is happy with that solution.
He said: “Bessone is still out, even if he has been involved in the last two or three tactical sessions with us. Two days ago, when we had the end of session sprints, he stopped and he said he felt heavy in his calf. That is the same place where he had a problem.
“At Stevenage you know what happened, with Joe on the left, but in the long run it would be a problem.
“In one game or two games anything can happen. You can’t invent football. In the long run it can be more predictable. But no problem, we will change depending on who we play.”