6:00am Wednesday 20th June 2012
By Sam Morshead
JAMES Collins has admitted that Paolo Di Canio was the primary reason behind his decision to swap Shrewsbury for Swindon this summer.
The 21-year-old was officially announced as a Town player on Monday after turning down the offer of a new contract at the Greenhous Meadow, and he revealed that he has been impressed by Robins boss Di Canio since the moment the two first met after Swindon’s 2-1 victory over his former club in November.
Seven months down the line, despite Shrewsbury also securing promotion to League One for next term, Collins chose to move to Wiltshire and he stressed that the charismatic and entertainingly unpredictable Di Canio was a major draw.
“When I spoke to Swindon I was impressed with the ambition of the club and with Di Canio,” he said. “The gaffer is the main factor. He played in the same position as me and is passionate about what he wants and so am I.
“He came up to me after the game at Swindon last season and gave me a hug and said he liked me as a player.
“I thought Shrewsbury were a bit unlucky to lose at Swindon that night but the atmosphere at the County Ground was brilliant and once they got on top the fans were brilliant.
“I look up to Paolo and he played in my position. I spoke to a few of the lads who had been here last season and they all said it was a good club to be at.
“Paolo does a lot of work with the strikers and will do separate sessions with them after training and I think he can improve my game.”
Collins thanked former boss Graham Turner, who handed him his chance in the professional game and gave him the platform to announce himself in the Football League with 16 goals for his old club last season.
But he is now ready for a new challenge.
“The gaffer at Shrewsbury gave me a chance to make a name for myself which led to bigger things with Swindon Town,” he said.
“I had a great time at Shrewsbury but felt the time was right to move on.”
Meanwhile, Alan Navarro could become a Town player later this week.
The Robins’ transfer target took to Twitter yesterday to announce that he will undergo a medical at an unnamed club, which is believed to be Swindon, on Thursday.
He wrote: “Last day of hols with the family, goin 2 do my medical at my new club on thurs, can't say who till then, #excitingtimes.”
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