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SWINDON TOWN: No sympathy for Pompey on the pitch, says Di Canio
SWINDON manager Paolo Di Canio is sympathetic to the situation Portsmouth currently find themselves in but will not let the club’s financial problems cloud the fact manager Michael Appleton has a quality squad at his disposal.
The former Manchester United trainee has had to bring in an entirely new playing staff on month-to-month deals after the Fratton Park club narrowly avoided liquidation over the summer, and the long-term future of the club is still up in the air despite them being able to shed their big earners including Tal Ben Haim, Kanu and Dave Kitson.
But while Di Canio is impressed his opposite number has been able to build a competitive team in such a short space of time, the Italian believes he has been able to put together an impressive side.
“He (Appleton) did a really good job because it was difficult for him, but he has good players.
“One or two have good pedigree like last Saturday and Cadamarteri (Carlisle), and there are players there that played Championship and League One for many years.
“McLeod was top scorer last year in League Two, so they are very good players, but it was difficult for them.
“But anyway, he did a good job and they play positive football on the ground.
“They do not abuse the long ball and you can see their system is to play football on the ground, nice football, keeping the ball and starting from the back.”
Di Canio has a fully-fit squad at his disposal after Alan Navarro recovered from a knee injury, and the Town boss believes his side can learn a lot from the game against the former Premier League side.
“I am happy to go there with my team because it is good to play in this kind of stadium with a big reputation, and a few years ago they played at the top level and won the FA Cup.
“Just last year they were Championship, but financial problems can cause big problems for any club, and unfortunately it happened to Portsmouth.
“I have sympathy for this club because the fans were amazing, and one of the most loyal fans like Newcastle and Swindon.
“For me it is important as a manager to smell the atmosphere like we play a Premier League club, and my players have to feel the same like when we went to the Britannia Stadium to played Stoke.
“The feeling and the atmosphere is like we play in a cup against a club still at the top level, because Portsmouth are a top club and the fans are amazing.”
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