Di Canio is pushing hard for managerial success

Owls legend: Paolo Di Canio
Owls legend: Paolo Di Canio
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PAOLO Di Canio returns to Sheffield this weekend. Or, to be more precise, to the Don Valley Stadium. He was always likely to be the highest-profile manager in League Two when he elected to start his managerial career last summer at Swindon Town who play Rotherham United on Saturday.

It can be hard catching widespread attention at that level, even as a media darling, but Swindon’s FA Cup giant-killing of Premier League Wigan provided the Italian with the perfect platform.

Sources in Wiltshire say he revelled in it all - from his impassioned touchline urgings to holding court afterwards to the assembled pen scribblers and wordsmiths.

He even had the throng chuckling when he said that he wanted Barcelona or Real Madrid in the fourth round. No one was quite sure if he was joking or serious!

But for all the touchline antics - and Rotherham certainly experienced them when the teams met back in September - when it comes to preparing his team, Di Canio is far removed from the madcap mannerisms he can portray.

Eager to manage at the top, he is said to be meticulous in his planning and knowledgeable about League Two. Of course, his return to Sheffield will evoke memories of his most infamous moment in Owls colours when he pushed over ref Paul Alcock at Hillsborough, receiving an 8-match ban for that offence (he got a further three for the sending off that preceded it).

Meanwhile a genuine Wembley trip is very much on the cards. Tonight Swindon are at Barnet in the first leg of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Southern Area Final, the winners going to Wembley - which should suit him perfectly!