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SWINDON TOWN: 'Paolo deserves all the credit'
INTERIM chairman Jeremy Wray has hailed manager Paolo Di Canio’s contribution towards transforming the entire mood of Swindon Town in the space of 12 months.
Just over a year to the day after Town were relegated from League One following defeat away at Sheffield Wednesday, the Italian and his team were celebrating after winning the League Two title in front of their own fans following a 5-0 hammering of Port Vale.
The appointment of Di Canio last May came at a time when morale at the club was at rock bottom, and Wray believes the former West Ham striker must take the bulk of the credit for a rapid change of fortunes.
“We must celebrate this moment because compared with 12 months ago the change in mood is amazing,” he said.
“I don’t think I have ever felt as low as I did following our last home game of the season last season, and we still had to go up to Tranmere for the last game which was tough.
“But everything is completely different now and we go to Bradford for our last game and there is no place I would rather be.
“Paolo has to take the credit for that absolutely, we said at the outset that he can not necessarily expect to have players with the talent of Lionel Messi, although some of our goals against Port Vale were outstanding, but what you can expect is to have players who will give their all.
“Paolo expects and will not accept anything less, and that has been the difference.
“We have had a team who are fit and play for each other and that has seen us achieve so much.”
At the time of his appointment there were questions raised over whether or not Di Canio was suited to working in English football’s basement division, but Wray is proud of the way he has proved his doubters wrong.
“A lot of work has gone in to this season and you do not get to the top and become champions by accident, and it has happened because Paolo and his staff have put in a huge amount of effort, and I don’t think people realise quite how much,” he said.
“They have all been dedicated and I think that is why we have managed to achieve all of this.
“Everyone at the club can be satisfied with what we have done, the players have played brilliantly and the managers have managed well.
“What I can say is that I got one decision right, so I can be pleased with that. If that is my contribution to the season then I am thrilled.
“I think this manager writes his own script, and maybe he contrived to lose two games in a row so that he could celebrate in front of his own fans.”
- PAOLO Di Canio and Alan McCormack have been nominated for the League Two manager and player of the month awards for April.
Di Canio masterminded Town to five wins from their seven games in April, keeping clean sheets in all five, but lost back-to-back games against Aldershot and Gillingham.
Promotion was sealed at Priestfield despite defeat, while Town won the League Two title with a 5-0 victory at home to Port Vale on Saturday.
During that time defender McCormack has been in superb form at the centre of the Swindon defence, and scored Town’s only goal at Gillingham.
The Irishman was not involved in Town’s 1-0 win over Plymouth on May 14, but returned to the side the following week to help seal promotion and the title.
Also nominated for the manager of the month award are Shrewsbury’s Graham Turner and Southend’s Paul Sturrock, while Nicky Wroe of Shrewsbury and controversial Southend defender Bilel Mohsni have been nominated for the player of the month award.
The winners will be announced on Friday.