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SWINDON TOWN: Di Canio eyes magnificent seven
PAOLO Di Canio has reminded everyone associated with Swindon Town of the rich pedigree of the Coventry squad ahead of the two teams’ meeting in League One tomorrow, claiming he would happily sign seven of the Sky Blues’ playing staff at the drop of a hat.
While the sides may occupy positions at opposite ends of the division at present, Coventry have been buoyed by the recent appointment of new manager Mark Robins and have won their last two matches.
But it is not only the revitalised dressing room that worries Di Canio.
What worries the Italian is an abundance of Championship, Premiership and even international experience - experience that Di Canio would love to have in his own squad - that has led him to suggest that the Midlands outfit are a lot stronger than their lowly 20th place suggests.
“If I read to you seven players that Coventry have in their squad, I would have every single one. Not because I don’t have good players but because I would have them for their pedigree, for their quality and their knowledge.
“I would have them to stretch my squad.
“(Gary) McSheffrey 40 Premiership appearances, 266 Championship appearances; (Kevin) Kilbane 325 Premiership appearances, 109 national appearances; (Stephen) Elliott 17 Premiership appearances, 141 Championship appearances; (David) McGoldrick 130 Championship appearances; (Richard) Wood 206 Championship appearances; (David) Bell 155 Championship appearances; (Joe) Murphy 155 Championship appearances.
“I don’t mention Cody McDonald - a talented player, I don’t mention (Callum) Ball.
“Now with a new manager you see they have a different discipline, you see they have won their last two games, this is the dimension.
“When we played Leyton Orient people forgot that there were three players on the field with over 300 games in the Championship and Premiership. How many have we got?
“Tommy Miller; Alan Navarro had a small experience last year; Jay McEveley. It doesn’t mean I underestimate my players but it means in one game, even if we are top, it stays 50-50.
“They have two or three players that in one moment of football can damage you.
“You can see in some situations when we are blurry those players come out and show that they are not blurry - Tommy and Jay McEveley in some way.
“The others, with all respect, when things go in some way don’t.”
Tomorrow represents the third time in succession that Town have come up against a team with a newly-appointed manager, following the clashes with Joe Dunne’s Colchester and Kevin Blackwell’s Bury.
Therefore Di Canio and his players are more than aware of the dangers of playing a side with a new-found sense of adventure, invention and effort.
“Since the manager arrived they have won two games and he has sent a straight message because he has not changed many players,” he said.
“He maybe wants to make this team more solid and that only through victories can they get the right mentality. It’s not coincidence that he played for Man United.
“You can see there is a better discipline, shape, a real 4-4-2, they have knowledge.
“Now he has brought in discipline, desire, a better work ethic you can see it is a different team.
“It’s no coincidence.
“They are just over the relegation zone but before he was in charge they were in the relegation zone and then two games - boom, boom.
“Like Colchester the change of manager means bringing in meritocracy and enthusiasm and that means a lot for their side.
“It is three times in a row now that we have met a team that changed their manager two weeks before and you can see the difference.
“Fortunately the last game we won but three in a row!
“They come with different enthusiasm. I wanted to meet them four weeks ago to be honest when I saw them play against Stevenage, I said I couldn’t wait.
“Now I want to play anyway because we play at home, we are going to play with determination but not it’s more tough - just like Colchester.”