Crazy days of Paolo Di Canio long gone, says Bantams’ former Swindon winger Raffaele De Vita

Raffaele De Vita, pictured against Peterborough on Friday night, says the new philosophy at Swindon is built around the development of young players

Raffaele De Vita, pictured against Peterborough on Friday night, says the new philosophy at Swindon is built around the development of young players

First published in Sport Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Bradford City Reporter

Raffaele De Vita will see plenty of new faces when he returns to Swindon this afternoon.

But he will also notice something else that he won’t remember from his time at the County Ground – a feeling of calm around the club.

The City midfielder enjoyed two successful years with the Wiltshire side, scoring 14 goals in 87 appearances.

It was a period which saw the Robins win League Two and then follow it up last season with a trip to the play-offs.

Most of that was presided over by Paolo Di Canio, the combustible Italian who signed De Vita from Livingston – Swindon life is somewhat quieter since.

De Vita said: “It’s changed a lot since Di Canio. I think it is a much calmer place now – but it couldn’t have been any more lively!

“It will be nice to meet some familiar faces and I still keep in touch with them. But when I left there was another ten players who went at the same time.

“I know the manager (Mark Cooper), who was the assistant of Kevin MacDonald when Di Canio left. He’s a really good man and I’m happy for him that he’s established himself at the club.”

Swindon changed policy last summer to concentrate more on developing youngsters rather than bringing in expensive senior pros. They have a close link with Tottenham – “baby sitting” some of their young players as chief executive and former City player Lee Power calls it.

Only five of the current squad are over 25 – and the average age could drop further in the summer when the wage budget is expected to go down again.

De Vita added: “Swindon have a smaller budget than when I was there and the players are really young. But they still have a good team. They are running things a little bit differently and really believe in the young players. They also get a lot of loans in.

“They can’t afford to bring in big players from the Championship or League One like last year so they have to work with youngsters. But I think the manager there has done a fantastic job.

“If you saw them at Valley Parade, they looked a decent side who wanted to pass the ball and play.”

De Vita is bouncing again after putting four months of injury misery behind him. His start against Peterborough on Good Friday was his first since early November.

He relished the right-side role of a midfield diamond before inevitably starting to tire in the second half.

Whether he has left it too late to persuade City to take up the second year on his contract, De Vita hopes he has pushed his claims for a nostalgic run-out against the Robins.

He said: “It will be really nice to go down there and see the County Ground again.

“Meeting some familiar faces will be good but getting the away win would be better – that’s what we are there for.”

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