Paolo has got the lads running like nothing I’ve ever seen before. If they are not running or doing stretches, they are sleeping.
They are made to run for great amounts of time and with little breaks in-between. Don’t get me wrong though, balls do come out occasionally but to get a touch they have to zig-zag, jump and sprint then kick the ball into the net. And some days they do have sessions with a lot of ball work but the main question to ask is whether the squad reap the rewards of superior fitness come the end of the 2012/13 season?
Last season we saw Di Canio’s “rottweilers” sweep all of League Two away while also achieving a Wembley final. This was down to two things. Firstly, the players brought in and how they performed and secondly our superior fitness in comparison to other sides in the league. A lot of matches were won late on including the 2-0 home wins over Gillingham and Plymouth. This goes to show how fitness was a major part of our season and how last season’s tour of Italy were worthwhile.
If you are a Swindon fan you will know how much fitness work Di Canio has his squad doing and it all happens under the watchful eye of Claudio Donatelli, although some players don’t like this regime (e.g. the one and only Leon Clarke) some know it will benefit them and take it by the horns. Players who have been with us since the start of the Paolo era will have been prepared for this the second time round (e.g Raffa, Matt Ritchie, Aden Flint, Paul Caddis and Alan McCormack) and will know that Di Canio doesn’t mess around.
Pre season is something of great importance to Paolo and that’s shown by his quickness in getting the bulk of his transfer business done before the squad jetted out to Italy with the arrivals of Andy Williams, James Collins, Gary Roberts, Tommy Miller, Alan Navarro, Jay McEveley and Troy Archibald Henville and expecting an arrival within the next week who is playing in a foreign league who are still yet to complete their fixtures.
I expect this season to be one of success for Swindon by once again using our superior fitness to win important games in the later stages and judging by the amount of championship quality players in our squad another automatic promotion is not out of the question.
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