IN­TER­VIEW Ferry out to lift sil­ver­ware with Di Canio’s Swin­don, writes David Friel

The Herald - Herald Sport - - Football - Picture: Getty Images 3pm un­less stated)

SI­MON FERRY does a nice line in self-dep­re­ca­tion. When he is re­minded he is about to make a third ap­pear­ance at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium in less than three years, the re­sponse is in­stant: “I sup­pose it’s not a bad record for a wee fat guy from Dundee.”

The Swin­don Town mid­fielder is rarely se­ri­ous, as fol­low­ers of his ir­rev­er­ent Twit­ter feed would tes­tify, yet he will be fo­cused on foot­ball to­mor­row as Paolo di Canio’s side take on Ch­ester­field in the John­stone’s Paint Tro­phy final. Un­der the Ital­ian’s guid­ance, Ferry has lived a life less or­di­nary this sea­son. The public re­ac­tion to Di Canio’s ap­point­ment was scep­ti­cal, but his im­pact has been trans­for­ma­tional. Also on the verge of pro­mo­tion from League Two, Swin­don hope to col­lect their first sil­ver­ware of the sea­son to­mor­row af­ter­noon.

Ferry, a mid­fielder and for­mer Celtic youth player, paints a picture of Di Canio as a pas­sion­ate foot­ball ob­ses­sive. He was colour­ful and con­tro­ver­sial as a player but ap­pears to have chan­nelled his nat­u­ral ag­gres­sion per­fectly in his first man­age­rial job. A few public bust-ups aside, Di Canio has cre­ated a win­ning team.

“The man­ager is bril­liant and will go all the way to the top,” Ferry said. “He is com­pletely fo­cused on foot­ball. That’s all he talks about and thinks about. He is so com­mit­ted. His prepa­ra­tion is un­be­liev­able. He is metic­u­lous. He knows ev­ery­thing about the op­po­si­tion in ev­ery game and goes into the small­est de­tail. He leaves noth­ing to chance.

“It’s been an in­tense sea­son but he is get­ting the best out of us. We very rarely get a day off but no­body com­plains. A lot of the boys have had su­perb sea­sons and a lot of that is down to the man­ager.”

Ferry, 24, jokes that he was “fourth-choice mid­fielder” when Di Canio took over in the sum­mer but has been a vir­tual ever-present as Swin­don have blos­somed. “Af­ter pre-sea­son, I found my fit­ness and the man­ager gave me a chance,” he said. “I’ve hardly missed a game and this will be my 45th ap­pear­ance of the sea­son. It’s been a bit of slog with so many games but I’m en­joy­ing it.”

Ferry and Di Canio both class the late Tommy Burns as a men­tor. The lat­ter was brought to Celtic by Burns in 1996, while Ferry rose through the Celtic youth academy un­der him. Ferry said: “The man­ager knows Paul Cad­dis and I played for Celtic but we’ve never re­ally spo­ken about it. He did men­tion Tommy when he took over and said he was one of his in­spi­ra­tions. That was a nice touch but I’d ex­pect any­body who knew Tommy to say that be­cause he was a bril­liant man, one of the best.”

And so to Wem­b­ley. Ferry first played there with Celtic in the 2009 Wem­b­ley Cup and re­turned 12 months later for Swin­don’s un­suc­cess­ful League One play-off. It’s be­com­ing al­most an an­nual visit. “The man­ager sat us down in the dress­ing-room the other day and asked who had played at Wem­b­ley,” Ferry said. “Only a few of us put our hands up.

“Even he never played there and look at what he achieved in the game. We won the Wem­b­ley Cup with Celtic and that was a good ex­pe­ri­ence, although look­ing back we were the only team not to play Barcelona in that tour­na­ment, so maybe we got lucky.

“[The final] is a huge game for us and you can sense how des­per­ate the man­ager is to win it. A lot of clubs don’t take this tour­na­ment as se­ri­ously as the FA Cup or Car­ling Cup, but the man­ager doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t mat­ter what tour­na­ment it is, he wants to win. If it’s a friendly, a bounce game, a train­ing game, he wants to win. It would be my first pro­fes­sional tro­phy and hope­fully we can do it

for him.”

Cham­pi­onship Barns­ley v Peter­bor­ough United, Burn­ley v West Ham United, Coven­try City v Portsmouth, Derby County v Crys­tal Palace, Le­ices­ter City v Hull City, Mid­dles­brough v Bris­tol City, Mill­wall v Leeds United, Not­ting­ham For­est v Brighton & Hove Alb, Read­ing v Black­pool, Southamp­ton v Don­caster Rovers, Wat­ford v Ip­swich Town

League 1 Brent­ford v Rochdale, Colch­ester United v Carlisle United, Hud­der­s­field Town v Charl­ton Ath­letic, Ley­ton Ori­ent v Sh­effield Wed­nes­day, Old­ham Ath­letic v Bournemouth, Pre­ston North End v Bury, Scun­thorpe United v Notts County, Tran­mere Rovers v Ex­eter City, Wal­sall v Steve­nage Bor­ough, Wy­combe Wan­der­ers v Mil­ton Keynes Dons, Yeovil Town v Hartle­pool United

League 2 Brad­ford City v Gillingham, Bris­tol Rovers v Southend United, Chel­tenham Town v Ox­ford Utd, Craw­ley Town v Rother­ham United, Da­gen­ham & Red­bridge v Ac­cring­ton Stan­ley, Here­ford United v Crewe Alexan­dra, More­cambe Town v Shrews­bury Town, Northamp­ton Town v Ply­mouth Ar­gyle, Torquay United v Port Vale, Wim­ble­don v Bur­ton Al­bion

Ligue 1 (6pm un­less stated) Ajac­cio v Lori­ent, Brest v Nancy, Evian Thonon Gail­lard v Lille, Olympique Ly­on­nais v Sochaux, Mont­pel­lier v Saint-etienne, Nice v Olympique Mar­seille, Va­len­ci­ennes v Rennes (8pm)

Bun­desliga 1 (2.30 un­less stated) Bay­ern Mu­nich v Han­nover ’96, Borus­sia Moenchenglad­bach v TSG Hof­fen­heim, FSV Mainz v Hertha Ber­lin, SC Freiburg v Kais­er­slautern, Werder Bre­men v Augs­burg, Schalke ’04 v Bayer Lev­erkusen (5.30)

Serie A AC Mi­lan v Roma (5pm), Palermo v Udi­nese (7.45)

Ere­di­visie Den Haag v Twente En­schede (7.45), Heeren­veen v VVV Venlo (6.45), NAC Breda v NEC Ni­jmegen (6.45), Roda JC Kerkrade v Vitesse Arn­hem (5.45)

Ire­land. Car­ling Pre­mier­ship Cru­saders v Car­rick Rangers, Done­gal Celtic v Cliftonville, Dun­gan­non Swifts v Gle­navon, Glentoran v Bal­ly­mena United, Lis­burn Dis­tillery v Lin­field, Por­ta­d­own v Col­eraine (5.20)

Su­perliga Sport­ing Lisbon v Feirense (8.15)

Primera Liga Getafe v Va­len­cia (9pm), Real Madrid v Real So­ciedad (7pm), Real Mal­lorca v Barcelona (5pm)

TO­MOR­ROW(

Premier League West Bromwich Al­bion v New­cas­tle United (4pm)

Cham­pi­onship Birm­ing­ham City v Cardiff City (noon)

Paint Tro­phy. Final Ch­ester­field v Swin­don Town (Wem­b­ley, 2pm)

Ligue 1 (6pm un­less stated) Di­jon v Caen (4pm), Paris Saint-ger­main v Girondins Bordeaux (8pm), Toulouse v Aux­erre (4pm)

Bun­desliga 1 Cologne v Borus­sia Dort­mund (4.30), VFB Stuttgart v Nurem­berg (2.30)

Serie A (2pm un­less stated) Ata­lanta v Bologna (11.30), Ce­sena v Parma, Chievo v Siena, Genoa v Fiorentina, Ju­ven­tus v In­ter Mi­lan (7.45), Lazio v Cagliari, Napoli v Cata­nia, No­vara v Lecce

Ere­di­visie Ajax v PSV Eind­hoven (3.30), AZ Alk­maar v RKC Waal­wijk (11.30), De Graaf­schap v Feyeno­ord (1.30), Her­a­cles v Utrecht (1.30)

Su­perliga (4pm un­less stated) Beira Mar v Na­cional Madeira, Pa­cos Fer­reira v Porto (8.15), Rio Ave v Vi­to­ria Guimaraes (6pm), Vi­to­ria Se­tubal v Uniao Leiria

of Ire­land. Air­tric­ity Lge of Ire­land Prem Div Bo­hemi­ans v St Pa­trick’s Ath (4pm)

Primera Liga Ath­letic Bil­bao v Sport­ing Gi­jon (5pm), Es­panyol v Malaga (3pm), Le­vante v Osasuna (3pm), Rayo Val­le­cano v Vil­lar­real (6.45), Real Betis v Rac­ing San­tander (6.45), Real Zaragoza v Atletico Madrid (11am)

Si­mon Ferry will line up in the John­stone’s Paint Tro­phy final against Ch­ester­field to­mor­row.

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