PAOLO DI CANIO brought his Swindon Town squad to the newly-refurbished Cirencester Arena for the first time on Tuesday.
The indoor dome was a regular winter haunt for the club in Danny Wilson’s era and clearly the wet conditions at Town’s Liddington training base have encouraged Di Canio to try out these excellent facilities after giving them a miss last winter when they were in need of an upgrade.
A two-week period without a competitive game means that Di Canio has the chance to shake up his training routine a little.
It was good to see long-time injured Alan Navarro playing a full part and by the time of the next game (home to Doncaster on December 8) he should be available for consideration again.
On Tuesday, I watched a sharp, one- and two-touch, full-team attacking session focussing on the strikers, with only keeper Leigh Bedwell in their way.
Swindon have failed to score in four of their last six games.
Wednesday's technical session in the Arena concentrated on the defence keeping its shape when not in possession of the ball.
After the 1-0 defeat at Notts County on Saturday, new striker Chris Martin, Danny Hollands and Alan McCormack were the trio picked out by the manager for individual criticism that is sadly becoming the norm. But County owe their points to a brilliant display from home goalie Bartosz Bialkowski.
Macca, playing out of position at right back (when we have a natural right back available in Nathan Thompson) did have one of his poorest games and the fact that he picked up a fifth booking, forcing him to miss Doncaster, has probably saved him from getting dropped.
Macca has been one of the giants in our forward surge under Di Canio, but even he is not allowed an off day, it seems.
The regularity of narrow defeats is becoming a worry, especially in games when we have been the better team.
No one can accuse the side of not giving it a go to get back in those games, but against Macclesfield, Brentford and Notts County they had run out of ideas before the end.
Maybe the players are beginning to believe the manager’s public pronouncements that a mid-table position is the best we can hope for.
That’s tosh. This division is not much better than the League Two we were promoted from so comfortably. Only one team has given us a drubbing – Preston, away.
League One is still there for the taking. And we have the squad to do it.
Good luck to the U18s who face the challenge of the visiting Liverpool side in the FA Youth Cup next week. With the likes of Alex Ferguson, Connor Waldron and Mark Francis, they have the players to do some damage.