Sunday, August 28, 2011

Latest Transfer: Blogger to Wordpress

Following advice and personal viewing, I am moving this blog over to Wordpress and new posts will no longer be viewed here. Please continue to view my blog @ where it will become bigger and better. I have also imported all previous over to there in case you are interested. Thank you for continuing to read my blog.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Town Through To Round Two

Swindon's win over Bristol City showed the world that three days in football is a very long time. Town fans were left distraught following a derby day defeat at the hands of Oxford. However, our mood has been lifted through the roof following a shock 1-0 victory at Ashton Gate.

Our third consecutive defeat on Sunday saw fans doubting just if, Paolo Di Canio was made out for this managerial lark. Fast forward three days, Di Canio masters a shock victory against rivals Bristol City and the fans love him, once more.

Paolo Di Canio has been somewhat of a tinker man thus far, not yet keeping the same XI for consecutive matches, trying to find the winning formula. Lander Gabilondo and Alan Connell came in for Etienne Ejasas and Raffaele De Vita, respectively.

It was De Vita who scored the only goal of the game, following good work from the Spaniard Lander Gabilondo. In truth, the win was fully deserved, with Leon Clarke and Matt Ritchie, previously having fantastic chances to score themselves.

Town's dominance meant Bristol City's chances were limited, with Brett Pitman being the most likely to have scored for the hosts. Bristol City manager Keith Millen blasted his team's performance as embarrassing.

The score line was obviously impressive, but it was the performance that has been most pleasing. The combination of solid defensive work, a first goal for De Vita and dominance in midfield, were all indeed very pleasing. Optimism – something that has been lost since our win versus Crewe has now resurfaced.

Initially, called off three weeks previous as a result of civil unrest, the wait to play at Ashton Gate proved to be more than worth it. Next up in the League Cup is a home tie versus Southampton, where Paolo Di Canio's team will be looking for another Championship scalp.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Match Review- Swindon Town vs Oxford United

Oxford United came out on top in what must have been the most awaited fixture in Wiltshire and Oxfordshire. The mutual rivalry and hatred between the supporters has only grown since the last time we played them in 2002. That combined with Swindon looking to appease fans following two away defeats.

Paolo Di Canio also added fuel to the fire with talk about Oxford striker James Constable being a Swindon fan. It was Constable who gave Oxford the lead on twelve minutes, heading home from a corner. Although the teams were well-matched, both teams were looking to attack so was no real surprise to see the deadlock broken.

Going a goal down appeared to lift the Town players into action and it wasn't a long wait for an equaliser. Matt Ritchie scored after somewhat of a scramble in the Oxford penalty area. The stadium erupted and the several elbows I received in the head from fans behind were more than worth it.

Swindon took charge of the game and looked the most likely to take the lead. However, Oxford were awarded a free-kick, courtesy of a rather theatrical fall. James Constable headed home from close range, grabbing his second in the process to ensure Oxford went into the break a goal up.

All four goals that Town have conceded  this season have been through set pieces. It an area that needs improving as we dominated most of the play in all three defeats. The defence looks all lost at sea whenever defending a free kick. Joe Devera in particular disappointed, given the fact he was marking Constable.

Raffaele De Vita made way for Mehdi Kerrouche at half-time as Town pressed for an equaliser. In a cruel twist of fate, Kerrouche only lasted 22 minutes before coming off injured with Alan Connell replacing. Despite his limited game time, the Algerian showed quality and intelligence in our attacking play.

Paolo Di Canio was sent to the stands following a spat with the linesman. Leon Clarke was wrongly flagged offside and frustration got the better of the Italian. Di Canio had been quite ridiculously, warned for over-excessive celebrating and running down the touchline after Ritchie's goal.

Etienne Ejasas made his first start, following previous cameo roles against Cheltenham and Dagenham & Redbridge. He looked impressive, constantly looking to run at defenders. Still lacking match practice, Ejasas was replaced by debutant Lander Gabilondo, who despite only signing on Friday looks very good. His desire to create opportunities troubled the Oxford back line and made a great chance for himself almost instantaneously.

Our best opportunity came courtesy of a Leon Clarke chance. He did the hard bit well – making space in the box only to lash the ball over from six yards. It was the moment you just knew it wasn't going to be Town's day and the bragging rights and the points were going up the A420.

Leon Clarke's golden opportunity was our last significant chance to snatch a point. Oxford successfully contained Swindon as they looked to play keep ball. Aden Flint was pushed up front to counter balance this, as long balls were thrown into the box, although he was unable to trouble the defence.

Swindon dominated play, much like our previous two defeats, but were unable to convert their possession into goals. The defeat hurts like no other but Oxford deserved to take three points from the game. James Constable took his chances, which none of our forward line did. Defensive errors also cost Town dear and teams can't expect to win making silly mistakes. Roll on March...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Where Are They Now- Oxford United vs Swindon Town 2002

With the return of the A420 derby today after a nine years absence, I thought it would be apt to continue my 'Where Are They Now' feature with a look at the starting XI from the last time we played the enemy. It was a televised FA Cup match, in which Swindon lost 1-0.

Bart Griemink: Joined from Peterborough in 2000 as part of the Colin Todd revolution after a loan spell. Griemink was a regular between the sticks before the arrival of Rhys Evans in 2003. The Dutchman went from missing just two games in 2002/03 campaign to only playing five games the following season. Griemink had a thirst for regular football and left for Southend once his contract expired. Now 39, he is currently playing for non-league Boston Town.

Gareth Edds: The Australian signed in 2002 from Nottingham Forest after the exit of Sol Davis. Edds' time at the County Ground wasn't successful and only played 18 times for the club during his one year stay. Gareth Edds left for Bradford where it was a similar story before joining MK Dons in 2004. He later signed for Tranmere before returning home to play for Queensland Fury.

Matt Heywood: Signed from Burnley in January 2001 after failing to make an impact at Turf Moor. Heywood was a near ever-present during his time at SN1, making over 200 appearances. In 2005, he turned down a new contract to join rivals Bristol City on a three year deal. Injuries and a change of manager limited opportunities at Ashton Gate and joined Brentford a season later. He later joined Grimsby before slipping into non-league with AFC Barrow and latterly Buxton.

Alan Reeves: Joined on a Bosman in 1998 from Wimbledon made over 200 appearances during an eight year spell. Reeves' initial time was not a good one; prone to costly mistakes with a poor disciplinary record. The loss of the captaincy coincided with improved performances and is well regarded by most Town supporters. His latter years at the County Ground also saw him taking a coaching role. A broken leg forced his retirement from the professional game.

David Duke: Failing to meet the mark at Sunderland, Duke joined Swindon in 2000 following a successful trial. An inconsistent performer during his time at Swindon and was often a fan's scapegoat. Duke spent five years at the club, notching up over 200 appearances before returning to the North East with Darlington. Duke spent two years with the Quakers before joining Durham City, Consett and is now playing in the 9th tier of English Football.

Stefani Miglioranzi: Signed from Pompey after injury problems hampered his first team chances in 2002. The midfielder was one of my favourites and showed an eye for goal in his debut season. The injury curse followed him from Fratton Park to Swindon and in one season, he clocked up just 17 games. After leaving Swindon in 2006, Miglioranzi returned to America, signing for LA Galaxy. Since, he has also spent a short time at Columbus Crew and now plays for Philadelphia Union.

Matt Hewlett: Colin Todd signed the midfielder at the turn of the millennium from rivals Bristol City. Hewlett's first season was plagued by injuries but was a good performer in the games he did play. He really came into his own during our play-off season, captaining the side into 4th place. Matt Hewlett's conflict with Andy Gurney saw the exit of the latter, whilst affecting Hewlett's performances. Joined Torquay in 2005 before a back injury forced retirement two seasons later.

Johnnie Jackson: Had a brief loan spell at SN1 from Tottenham in 2002 and played 15 times for the club. Following Swindon, Jackson had loan spells with Colchester, Coventry, Watford and Derby. He re-joined Colchester permanently in 2006 and spent three years in Essex before joining for Notts County in 2009. Initially joined Charlton Athletic on loan in February 2010 before signing a permanent deal later that year.

Eric Sabin: Signed in 2001 by Andy King who later compared him to Thierry Henry; well he is French. And fairly fast. Had a goal record of about one in seven during his two years at the County Ground. Sabin failed to make an impact at QPR and later joined Northampton before signing for that team up the road. Returned to France in 2006, joining AC Arles and now playing for Nimes Olympique.

Sam Parkin: Super Sammy Parkin signed for £50,000 from Chelsea in 2002. Parkin hit the ground running immediately, scoring a hat-trick on his debut and scoring 25 that season. Alongside Tommy Mooney, he fired Swindon to the play-offs in 2004; whilst the following season wasn't as good for Town, Parkin continued to impress. After scoring 73 goals in three seasons at SN1, he joined Ipswich for £450,000 and left with the blessing of all Town fans. Injuries hampered his time at Portman Road and did whilst at Luton and Walsall. Sam Parkin went north of the border in 2010 to play for SPL side St Johnstone.

Danny Invincibile: Signed in 2000, having previously played in his native Australia. Invincibile scored 27 times for Swindon but there is only one that really matters for Town fans. He scored a late winner in 2001 to ensure survival in Division Two and will be forever remembered for that. Invincibile left for Kimarnock in 2003 where he remained until January. Rumours linked him with a return to Wiltshire, however these proved untrue and he once again linked with Parkin for the remainder of the season. He is currently without a club

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Final Peices To The Jigsaw

Paolo Di Canio has once more dipped his hand into the transfer market following two successive defeats. Lander Gabilondo and Leon Clarke have become signings number 13 and 14 and have arrived in time to play in our derby clash with Oxford. 

Lander Gabilondo has signed a one-year contract with the club, following a successful trial with Swindon. The Spaniard has spent his entire career in his homeland; most recently playing for third tier side Osasuna B. Gabilondo is a winger who can operate on either side the pitch and is likely to provide fierce competition for places with Etienne Esajas and Matt Ritchie already at the club.

Leon Clarke has also joined the club, securing a two-year contract in the process. His signing has been somewhat of a mini transfer saga; the deal looked dead in the water when Paolo Di Canio described his wage demands as amazing. A loan deal looked the most likely transaction to take place until Clarke's contract at QPR was terminated by mutual consent.

Clarke has been around the block since coming through the ranks at Wolves in 2003, knocking up seven clubs since. Clarke has profoundly struggled at most clubs, although hasn't dropped down as low as League Two, excluding a short loan spell with Kiddeminister in 2004. Furthermore, teams in League One have been rumoured to be interested in signing Clarke.

Following the arrival of Gabilondo and Clarke, the squad is looking more set for a serious promotion charge. The signing of Clarke might, just might stop me moaning about our lack of strike force. Both could leap into cult hero status like Steve 'Turbo' Robinson did a decade earlier. Forever and ever we follow our team... 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

No Plan B

A superb opening day victory over Crewe gave Swindon fans new-found optimism that we could return to League One at the first time of asking. However, successive defeats away to Cheltenham and Dagenham & Redbridge have been a harsh reminder that League Two is no walk in the park.

In spite of the win over Crewe, it wasn't always plain sailing first half; Town were somewhat fortunate to head into the break with a lead, through a Callum Kennedy penalty. Swindon certainly upped the anti second half  and began to play football at a much higher tempo. Goals from Oliver Risser and Aden Flint provided an empathic win which provided Town fans with optimism. This optimism has been going down like the Titanic ever since.

Paolo Di Canio's philosophy is clearly to play good football and pass the ball round. An unusual game plan in this league with most teams looking to have a physical presence on their opposition. This approach isn't too dissimilar to that of Crewe, who have the likes of Byron Moore providing creativity.

Swindon took the same game plan to Whaddon Road for a game versus Cheltenham. On the whole, they struggled to break down an organised and resilient side and were largely limited to hopeful, long-range shots. Heading towards the end of the game, Swindon turned to 'Plan B'; long balls up to our forwards, who were comfortably sounded out by an experienced back line.

I wasn't able to make the trip to Dagenham & Redbridge so have no personal view on our performance. However, judging by reports and hear say from those who did attend, the performance sounds like a carbon copy to that at Cheltenham. Paolo Di Canio has been frank in interviews since and changes are expected for our derby clash with Oxford.

With Raffaele De Vita and Billy Bodin starting up front, we just aren't capable of executing 'Plan B' effectively. Both De Vita and Bodin look to be decent, young players with potential to improve their game. As a partnership though, the pair are just too similar; both are nimble and have quick feet but won't ever beat League Two defenders in the air. Early days admittedly, but neither look capable of scoring many more than ten a season.

Our two most successful seasons in the past decade came in 2003/04 and 2009/10; reaching the League One play-offs in both. The most stand-out thing in our squads in those seasons was our strike forces. Town favourite Sam Parkin partnered Tommy Mooney in 2003/04 bagged 19 goals each in the league. Six years later, Charlie Austin and Billy Panyter were a formidable partnership and scored 19 and 29 goals respectively.

It remains to be seen if either Alan Connell or Mehdi Kerrouche are the answer to our striking woes. Last season, Connell performed exceptionally for Conference side Grimsby and showed his goalscoring pedigree. Algerian Mehdi Kerrouche has shown his goalscoring ability throughout his career, albeit on foreign soil. Our strike force should receive a boost with QPR forward Leon Clarke poised to sign on loan.

With Danny Wilson at the helm, Swindon also looked to play football and reached the League One play-offs by doing so. Even in an otherwise awful season, our best performance away to Charlton came as a result of playing some decent football and not a long-range hoof up field. Performances like that were all too much of a rare occasion last term and Paolo Di Canio does need to ensure we avoid a repeat of last season this time round.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Match Review- Cheltenham Town vs Swindon Town

Swindon fans who made the trip to Gloucestershire must have been wishing the game was postponed as was originally planned as Town went down 1-0. Whaddon Road has never been an happy hunting ground for Swindon and their woes continued with a mediocre performance.

Swindon made a bright start to the game; dominating the first 20 minutes as Oliver Risser looked to better his superb debut goal last week. The away fans, including myself, thought Raffaele De Vita scored as we jumped to celebrate. However, the Italian placed wide proving our celebrations were premature.

Alan McCormack replaced Jonathan Smith and showed just why Paolo Di Canio was so keen to bring him to the County Ground. McCormack got stuck into every tackle and an over-zealous challenge earned him a yellow. The combative midfielder also looked to make things happen forward and saw a long-distance shot hit the post.

Nathan Thompson also made his first start of the season; playing from right midfield in front of Paul Caddis. Thompson is a great prospect, but was bemused as to why he was played out of position. Although he made some good tackles, he looked uncomfortable out there and was  often find out of position.

Although it's still early days, Joe Devera looked poor once again in defence and his starting place must be in doubt with Alberto Comazzi ready to takeover. Devera has predominately spent his career at right-back and questions are arising as to if he is more natural at full-back.  However, Joe Devera's partner Aden Flint  did impress once again. Seen as back-up prior to the opening game but has really captailised on Alberto Comazzi's suspension.

Billy Bodin looked like he was to win his side another penalty after he was once again pushed down. It looked more clear-cut than the one that was given in our opening day victory over Crewe. On evident of the two games thus far, Bodin's flair is likely to see similar situations arise throughout this campaign.

Clear-cut chances were few and far between and the match was further evidence of our need for striker. Both Billy Bodin and Raffaele De Vita worked themselves to the ground; they are too similar with neither able to offer an aerial threat to an experienced defence. Alan Connell looked a more complete player and I fully expect him to start against Dagenham & Redbridge.

The game proved my fear that I made in last week's match review as to how Swindon would manage facing more physical sides. Crewe's style of play, passing the ball around and looking to play football is a fairly unique style in League Two and not too different from Town's philosophy.

It is still early days and it is obvious to see that the squad does possess quality throughout. Our main problem is that with so many arrivals, the team is still not gelled as others in the league are. Concern should only arise if we are still stuttering in a month or so. That said, I couldn't bear not to beat arch-rivals Oxford United this week; not that I am forgetting an important game away to Dagenham & Redbridge first.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

There's Only One Jimmy Davis

Jimmy Davis only played 15 times for Swindon whilst on loan from Manchester United during 2002-03. That did not stop Davis becoming a fans' favourite which is why I find it fitting to write my tribute to him eight years to the day after his tragic death.

Jimmy Davis certainly wasn't your typical top flight player whilst on loan at the County Ground. When others think they are too good to be on loan, Jimmy did just the opposite. His  superior ability did not stop his commitment and effort being anything less than outstanding.

One of my favourite memories of him during his time at Swindon was his last game against Tranmere. Davis was given a standing ovation and massive applause as he exited the pitch; clearly leaving him overwhelmed and humbled. That moment summed Jimmy up.

Swindon fans didn't want to see him leave so soon and Davis himself was keen to remain at the County Ground. He returned to Old Trafford where he remained on the fringes of the first team squad.

Such were his performances, that the following season Swindon were keen to once more capture him on loan. However, it was obvious he was destined for greater things and attracted the interest of Championship side Watford.

Injury prevented Davis from making in his Watford debut on the opening game of the season. As we will all remember, Jimmy tragically died in a car crash whilst travelling to Watford to watch his new team-mates play against Coventry.

The Watford game was called off on the hearing of this tragic news and it eventually made its way to the County Ground. Town lost 3-2 Sheffield Wednesday that afternoon but it didn't matter, it was only a game when a young man had just lost his life.

His family attended our home game against Notts County where we beat them 4-0. A fitting tribute for a fantastic player. If you never knew how much he loved it at Swindon, you certainly knew it that afternoon after hearing his mother's tribute. Chants of 'There's only one Jimmy Davis' were certainly moving.

Since, very few have been as good as Jimmy was in the red of Swindon. Writing this, tears have stemmed down my face just like they did eight years so I will stop at this. I thank you Jimmy Davis for the memories and you will never be forgotten.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Are We Good Enough?

The dismal season which saw Swindon relegated to League Two sparked an exodus at the County Ground. Much has changed at Swindon in recent months and as a result of this, expectations are high and confidence amongst supporters is high.

The majority of Town supporters see play-offs as an absolute minimal requirement. The new look squad have a task to right a very big wrong by those who have jumped ship. So are we strong enough to make a serious promotion charge?

The appointment of Paolo Di Canio in May, shortly after our relegation is the most important change of all. Di Canio is a massive name within the English game, having plied his trade at Sheffield Wednesday and later West Ham and Charlton Athletic. The Italian's appointment has been a popular one which has seen season ticket sales soar.

The flip side of the coin to Di Canio's arrival is that it's his first taste of management. In spite of the optimism, no-one is sure that Di Canio will excel at management as much as he did as a player. As of now, I am impressed; his passion has been instilled into his squad which can only been seen as a positive step.

Since his arrival, Paolo Di Canio has looked to put his rubber stamp on the squad; allowing players to move on, and also bringing in new faces. Joe Devera and Alberto Comazzi have been brought in to shore up our shaky defence. Devera clocked up over 200 league appearances during his time with Barnet, whilst 32 year old Comazzi should give the defence some much needed experience and know-how.

With five central midfielders at the club, competition for a starting place is likely to be fierce. Nambia international Oliver Risser has been given the armband, whilst Alan McCormack and Jonathan Smith also signed. McCormack rejected League One clubs to sign from Charlton Athletic; presumably the lure of Di Canio turned his head so is unlikely to settle for a place on the bench. Jonathan Smith joined from Blue Square Premier side York City and started every pre-season game.

The trio joined Simon Ferry and Michael Timlin at the County Ground who will also be bidding for a starting place. Former Celtic man Ferry had a disappointing previous campaign and has it all to prove to Paolo Di Canio. That said, Simon Ferry has something different to the others; whilst the other quartet are tough-tackling whilst Ferry is a creative outlet. Michael Timlin had the opportunity to join Southend, but instead opted to stay at Swindon so won't be happy with a cameo role.

Our major downfall last season was a lack of goals; it speaks volumes when Sean Morrison, a central defender who left in January was our third top goalscorer. In a bid to fix this problem, three strikers arrived at the club with Raffaele De Vita the first to join from Scottish side Livingston. De Vita will face competition from Alan Connell, who joined from Grimsby after scoring 26 last season and Algerian Mehdi Kerrouche.

Whilst overs jumped ship at just about the first opportunity, Paul Caddis and Matt Ritchie have remained at the club. Our two best players last season, who impressed with the commitment and ability. There would have been interest from higher up the food chain, so for them to still be here is a great boost. Paul Caddis is likely to be pushed back into defence although will grow into the role comfortably.

Elsewhere, clubs have strenghten and there are some good teams in the league. Blue Square Premier winners Crawley Town have money and momentum which makes the Sussex side worthy favourites. Bristol Rovers have had a similar summer to Swindon following relegation from League One. Paul Buckle has taken over the reins, leaving Torquay in the process and has signed several players following so many exits. Shrewsbury will be looking to go one better whilst Rotherham, Oxford and Southend have improved their squads.

This season will be no walk in the park, with so many good teams in the league. One thing is for sure, with Paolo Di Canio at the helm, we are in for an eventful season. Who knows what this season will bring but of course we all hope Swindon fulfil the expectations resting on their shoulders.

Match Review- Swindon Town vs Crewe Alexandra

Optimism was high around the stadium as Swindon kicked off their League Two campaign. On the show of the 3-0 victory, optimism had not been misplaced. As well as it being our first victory of the season, it was also our first home of the calender year.

On reflection of the first half, the final scoreline does look rather kind to Swindon. The team were slow out of the blocks, a mixture of nerves and a team not quite gelled contributing to it. Debutant Joe Devera made an almost fatal error, losing possession in his own half and Swindon were only saved by an Aden Flint challenge.

This scary moment appeared to kick-start Swindon into life and started to attack and pass the ball around nicely. Matt Ritchie was booked for a late, sliding challenge in Crewe's area from a corner; extremely unnecessary but showed his desire hasn't been lost.

Swindon won a penalty on the stroke of half-time, after Billy Bodin made a good run and fell under the challenge of Dave Artell. The decision in truth was debatable, although I believe it was the right call. Callum Kennedy calmly converted to score his first goal in a Swindon shirt.

Despite heading into half-time with the lead, the performance would have not to been to Paolo Di Canio's standards and a vast improvement was made. Town came out and played with a real desire and at a high tempo.

Town got there just rewards fifteen minutes into the second with a stunning volley captain Oliver Risser following a blocked shot from Billy Bodin. Overall, his performance wasn't much to write home about, but that goal overshadowed it. Paolo Di Canio's slide across the grass following the goal was superb; he still kicks every ball and makes every tackle alongside the players. Brilliant.

Swindon managed to put the cherry on the cake when Aden Flint scored the third. Flint was outstanding today and fully deserved his goal. Seen as back-up behind new signings Joe Devera and Alberto Comazzi, he really made a claim to become a more permanent fixture in the side.

Billy Bodin also impressed me today; much like Matt Ritchie, the youngster has really bulked up over the summer. Bodin showed some lovely touches and always looked to be involved in the play. Other youngster Callum Kennedy was assured at the back and clearly possesses a sweet left foot.

The ever present Matt Ritchie and Paul Caddis continue to impress me and showed some good link-up play on the right channel. Etienne Ejasas is likely to start on the left so is a partnership that could really blossom this season.

Paolo Di Canio has certainly instilled a passing, fluent style onto the side; very much similar to that of Dario Gradi's Crewe side. The test will come when we play a more physical, 'hoof ball' side, of which there is plenty in League Two. Our squad has a lot of small, nimble players so the likes of Aden Flint, Oliver Risser and Alan McCormack will be vital for their physical presence.

With games will come players gelling more as a team which is only a positive. Di Canio needs to ensure his troops start every game as they started the second half today; mistakes and nerves could cost against another team on another day. It is early days, but on evidence of today, the optimism descending on SN1 has not been misplaced.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Tale Of The Trialists

Uruguayan Nicolas Raimondi is poised to become the latest to join on trial as he bids to become the man to solve our striker problem. Raimondi has been described as Uruguay's version of Bas Savage. His career has taken him to Brazil, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Greece and most recently Bulgaria.

Further information on Nicolas Raimondi is rather limited but considering he is 26, the Uruguayan hasn't played many games or scored a lot. Of course this could be down to a number of reasons but I am hardly inspired. I still want this 'big, experienced' forward who has played in the football league. 

Paolo Di Canio has gone down the trialist route on a number of occasions before in a bid to revamp our depleted squad. The club has seen no less than eight trialists arrive through the doors this summer; some signed permanently whilst overs were shown the door almost immediately. For this article I will look back at our trialists who have joined this summer.

First to arrive on trial was striker Leon Knight; I had never been his biggest admirer since our play-off games against Brighton in 2004. After only two days the striker was asked to leave with Di Canio citing for poor fitness and an even worse attitude. His unprofessional attitude that has followed him through his career and is something I don't want to see at the County Ground.

Namibian international Oliver Risser and Ghanian Ibrahim Atiku arrived on trial the same day as Knight. Oliver Risser immediately impress and was subsequently offered a deal after only two days of training. The Namibian international has also since been named as captain after having his leadership skills hailed. Ibrahim Atiku's versatility should prove to be a great asset when the inevitable suspensions and injuries arise.

Following the failure of Leon Knight, Di Canio turned to fellow Italian Christian Cesaretti to boost our almost vacant striker options. His career history was very much underwhelming; this was also coupled with reported poor attitude. With such a strict boss in Paolo Di Canio, the exit door which he walked through a couple of days later seemed inevitable.

Taijo Teniste was a left back who had spent last summer on trial at Championship side Doncaster Rovers. At the time, we were very much lacking left-sided players so looked likely to sign. However, Paolo Di Canio was seemingly unimpressed with his defensive attributes and soon returned to his native Estonia with Levadia Tallinn.

The exit of Teniste prompted the arrival of fellow left back Alessandro Cibocchi to join on trial who proved more to Di Canio's liking. Injury has prevented him from playing much of a role than a few minutes during a friendly against Supermarine. Injury has appeared to hampered his career so Callum Kennedy is likely to take the left back berth.
Former Sheffield Wednesday man Etienne Esajas was the next to join on trial on was signed permanently. The ability of Esajas was never an issue and has since shown that in the friendlies that followed. The main issue was Esasis' fitness and injury record, having only played 9 times in the previous season. He has also since dislocated his shoulder although it deemed not as bad as first feared. In spite of this, he is a player that excites me and can't wait to see in action.