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SWINDON TOWN: Wray backs Di Canio's embargo pleas
JEREMY Wray has urged the Swindon Town moneymen to help lift the transfer embargo from the club’s shoulders else potentially live to regret any inaction in the future.
Wray, replaced as chairman of the Robins at the request of majority shareholder Andrew Black on Monday, backed manager Paolo Di Canio in pushing for a resolution to the problem but - in an exclusive interview with the Advertiser - stressed that the Italian’s open pleas to the board in recent weeks are not a demand for more players.
Instead, Wray said that Di Canio was asking for more flexibility in the transfer market so that, should Swindon find themselves in a position where recruits are required to aid a promotion push, they are able to bring in new faces.
That sentiment would appear to be rendered redundant by the fact that Di Canio overtly requested a new striker in the aftermath of the 2-2 draw at Coventry on Saturday, but Wray was adamant that the former West Ham striker is not the spoilt, sweet-demanding child demanding that some are making him out to be.
He said: “There have been a lot of things that have gone on where people, if they knew the background and what was being said, would see that Paolo’s comments were far more measured and had more base in fact than people realised.
“Even now when he’s talking about the embargo, he’s not saying ‘I must have new players’.
“He’s saying we must lift the embargo so that we have the flexibility that if suddenly an injury occurs, if the plan is still as it was, we must have the flexibility to discuss with Phil Spencer and with the scouts who the player is we might need to bring in in the short term.
“When the embargo sits there, as far as Paolo is concerned, there is no scope to adapt to those short-term needs.
“He’s not saying ‘go buy someone now for x-hundred-thousand pounds’. He’s saying ‘we need that flexibility to do what needs to be done’.
“You don’t want to be sitting there at the end of the season and miss out by a couple of points.”
Wray used a recent failure to secure promotion to the Championship as an example of how inaction has major consequence.
“In truth when you go back to the year we went to the play-offs, did we make mistakes in the run-up to the play-off final? Yes,” he said.
“We should have strengthened the squad by two or three players in January. I remember Danny (Wilson) saying ‘we don’t need to bring anyone in, we’ve got a great nucleus here and I don’t want to upset the balance of the team by bringing in two or three extra team’.
“Really, from a managerial point of view, that’s not wanting to have the awkward situation of juggling extra people when only 11 people can play in the team.
“What Paolo is saying is ‘hey, leave me to deal with those problems, I don’t mind if I’ve got players I have to disappoint by leaving them on the bench or in the stands’.
“I think there’s a huge honesty in what he’s said, it’s open and there’s no hidden agenda behind that.”
Concerns have been raised, in the 48 hours since the news was broken on the Advertiser website that Wray was to be stood down, that the blueprint for success at SN1 has changed.
Wray emphasised that he did not think that was the case, however.
He said: “I wouldnt have thought Sir William (Patey) would have taken the role on unless he’d had the reassurance that the plan was very much the same.
“In the conversations I’ve had with him he shares the passion and determination to get the club to the Championship.
“He wouldn’t have done it without those assurances. The plan is the same, it’s just with different people in the helm moving forward.”
Finally, Wray gave his thoughts on the Di Canio regime as he backed away from the club.
He said: “We know he’s tough, he’s tough on his players but he only expects from them what he would accept from himself.
“It’s a tough regime but it’s a regime based on respect, passion and discipline which, if you remember how things were going back a couple of years when we were at our nadir, we got a lot of wrong and there were all those issues that were sadly lacking.
“So to find one person with a plan that encompassed all those was the right thing.
“There is a frustration I won’t see it through.”