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Dickov meets his match

14 December 2012

Pity the fourth official says Latics' manager

Sparks could fly on the touchline tomorrow at Boundary Park where Latics play Swindon Town in npower League One.

The match involves teams managed by Paul Dickov and Paolo Di Canio, two passionate and fiery characters. 

Dickov has even joked that fourth official Kevin Mattocks may be forced to abandon the technical area for the safety of the stand.

"Personally I cannot see any problems on the touchline as Paolo and I are both shy and reserved characters," he declared tongue-in-cheek.

This will be the first time Dickov and Di Canio have met in a managerial capacity, though they have done battle as players.

Dickov recalled: "I played against Paolo a time of times during my career, and I can even recall swopping shirts with him on one occasion.

"I know people give him stick for being over zealous, but I think he is a great character as he is passionate about his football as he also showed when he played.

"He is also showing it as a manager and he is doing a great job at Swindon."

Dickov believes Swindon will present Latics with one of their biggest challenges of the season.

Latics' manager has been impressed by the squad Di Canio has assembled.

Dickov said: "We will need to be at our best because Swindon have a strong squad.

"Swindon have a lot of players who could and should be playing at a higher level.

"They have spent a lot of money, but spent it well and find themselves just outside the play offs."

Swindon won promotion under Di Canio in 2011/12 and continued where they left off.

Dickov is especially impressed by eight-goal top scorer Matt Ritchie, a player who has been linked with a big-money move.

And he also points to the quality of the players Di Canio has brought in on loan - Tottenham's John Bostock, Chris Martin (Norwich), Adam Rooney (Birmingham City), Danny Hollands (Charlton) and Darren Ward (Millwall).

Latics go into the match in fine spirits having won four of their last five games.

Swindon, by contrast, have collected one point from a possible nine. However, the two defeats have both been by 1-0 margins against high-flying Brentford and Notts County. 

They held top-two team Doncaster Rovers to a 1-1 draw at the County Ground last Saturday.

And Dickov believes it will be a good test and measure as to the progress his side has made.

Latics' manager added his team has worked hard this week and he has been stressing the importance of achieving consistency.

He said: "I know we can be at our worst when we are doing well.

"As a staff, we have been stressing the need to be focused and to do the right things.

"The natural thing when you do well is to get giddy and allow the banter to go too far.

"That is because the players are winning games and enjoying themselves so we have to keep the lid on it."

Dickov added that the teams at the top are the ones which are able to achieve the level of consistency Latics are striving for.

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