Praise For Paolo

  • Top Premiership scorer 2002/03 - Di Canio 80/1, Kanoute 66/1, Defoe 50/1 (e/w 1/4 odds top 3)
    Click for full Top Scorer odds with Surrey Sports.

Glenn Roeder is delighted with how hard Paolo Di Canio has worked over the summer.

Paolo, who has been doing rehab in Italy since before the end of last season as he battled back to fitness, played in the 3-1 defeat of Southend on Tuesday evening, and Glenn says:

"Paolo is up and running; we only saw him return to training with us last Thursday, and it became apparent very quickly that he was back fully fit.

"He has worked very hard - he has told me that, and you can see by the way he has trained and run around on Tuesday.

"We allowed him to stay at the rehabilitation centre in Italy because it is his own country and we were happy that it was an environment that he was comfortable in - that was not a problem for us.

"He worked right through the summer and just had a two week family holiday; he looks fully wound up and motivated for the coming season."

Joe Cole also played in that game, and Glenn says:

"He was always going to play on Tuesday; I spoke to him on Saturday about it and he felt he was ready.

"We are happy with the fitness programme he has been on, but at the start of the game I felt certain he would come off at half time.

"But he was so confident that he could do another 15 or 20 minutes in the second half that we allowed him to do that - it is always nice when players want to do more, and of course Joe loves playing.

"I am very pleased with what Raimond van der Gouw has brought to the club so far, while Christian Dailly and Tomas Repka got 90 minutes under their belts at Roots Hall and did well.

"Labant and Carrick got through a full game as well, whereas I anticipated Michael just getting 75 or 80 minutes."

As the transfer search goes on Glenn admits:

"It is not quite as mad as it was this time last season, and on paper we look healthier than this time 12 months ago.

"If I remember, in our last preseason game against Utrecht we were playing trialists, and normally speaking you are wanting to be playing your starting eleven for the following week in the last of the friendly games.

"But that is how desperate it was last year, whereas this year I know the state of play, and I will only be able to bring in two new players.

"I would like four, because we are woefully short when we look at the depth of the squad.

"There is no doubt in my mind that 53 points was a good return last year, and when everyone is fit we have a decent side, and certainly one that plays attractive football and is worth watching.

"But if we pick up three our four injuries we are under severe pressure because we don't have that quality in the squad, so I am looking, like probably a dozen clubs in the Premiership, to pick up Bosman players.

"When you have got a small squad you want versatile players who can play in more than one position, and I have got my eye on two in particular.

"If I can get those two in the next couple of weeks, that will be us done, really, for the season."