Hughes hopes to tackle Di Canio

First published in Sport
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The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

PAOLO Di Canio's future remains up in the air and there's plenty of uncertainty around Swindon Town at the moment, but John Hughes hopes the fiery Italian remains in charge.

The pair were team-mates at Celtic in the 1996-97 season, but have not met up since the Italian departed for Sheffield Wednesday.

Hughes leads Hartlepool United to Swindon this weekend and, while the Robins are at Colchester this evening, it remains to be seen if Di Canio will still be in charge by the weekend.

Last Friday he issued a statement revealing he was considering his position.

"It's Swindon next, we look forward to it and I want to go and lock horns with Paolo Di Canio,'' admitted Hughes. "He's had one or two things to say, we played at Celtic together and I hope he's still there next week - a great character in the game.

"Paolo is a gentleman, I hope he's still there because I've not seen him since 1997. I'm looking forward to going head to head with him and he will know I'm the top man - no messing about. I had to room with him at Celtic, so behave yourself, he knows that.

"What a great guy to have around and in football terms he was so talented. But I never got tired of kicking him in training!''

Hughes has raked in ten points from a possible 18 and Saturday's win over Notts County ended a horrific run of seven successive home defeats.

"What will this home win do for us?'' he asked. "I don't know until next time. I don't know if I sensed relief, but maybe a unity in supporters and players and a willingness to get us over the line - the fans were behind us and whistling for the end to come.

"They are with us and have to be between now and the end of the season.

"Even if we drew with their late free-kick there would be disappointment, jeers I'm sure. But looking at it later you could see the players worked their tails off, played some good stuff going forward and now our aim is simple - not to get beat between now and the end of the season.''

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