View from the opposition: Graham Potter is the man to lead Swansea rebuilding job
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Swansea City fan Sioned Dafydd is in the hot seat ahead of Saturday’s game at the Liberty Stadium
QEighth in the table - are you happy with that?
AThere was certainly a sense at the start of the season that we were over-achieving slightly, especially when you consider the fact that we sold most of our squad over the summer (13 players in total I believe). Graham Potter had to bring through a lot of our young academy players with very little experience, but all the fans have been so impressed by them. I believe it’s 11 debuts in total that Potter has given so far this season – that’s a whole new starting XI when you think about it. And we’ve also got one of the youngest, if not the youngest, squads in the league. When you consider all of this I’m very happy with eighth. I certainly didn’t expect it.
QGraham Potter was a little bit left-field - happy with what he is doing with you?
A100%. I think as a club we’ve very lucky to have him and his backroom staff at Swansea. It’s easy for a manager to buy and bring in new players but for whatever reason Potter hasn’t done that. Instead, he’s worked with what he’s got and improved all our players. It takes a special kind of manager to improve players and give them a new lease of life and you can certainly see that in our squad this season. I’ve heard very good things about the way he works as well. Swansea City has become a much happier club since his arrival.
QLeroy Fer and Martin Olsson are familiar faces in Norwich - how do you rate them as players.
AThey’ve been good servants. During our time in the Prem, Olsson was very reliable and was a constant feature, but I don’t think he’s been at his best in the Championship for whatever reason. Leroy Fer – well, he is our club captain and a lively character which is always good to have in the dressing room, especially within such a young squad. I can imagine he’s a good ‘big brother’ type of figure to the younger lads. He missed the start of the season recovering from an Achilles injury and it was certainly good to see him back out on the pitch. Perhaps not the most skilled player we have, but a good person to have around.
QYou face the Championship leaders today ... you surprised to see Norwich on top?
ANo disrespect to Norwich but I am a bit! If you had asked me about promotion contenders before the season started I probably wouldn’t have said Norwich. That’s mainly because last season wasn’t great for Norwich, but they’re not a team who should be in the bottom half of the table because there’s potential there to push for promotion so it’s good to see Norwich at a level where they can be competitive?
QDo you think they will maintain a promotion push?
AThe key thing in this league is momentum. That’s what every team wants and needs to push for promotion. There’s a decent squad there so if the key players can keep fit and avoid any nasty injuries between now and the end of the season then who knows what could happen?
QAnd yourselves - are you equipped to go up?
AHonestly, not this season. As you know, relegation from the Premier League can cause a lot of damage and from Swansea’s point of view relegation had been coming for a long time. For about three seasons we were just about scraping survival and there was a peculiar sense of relief when we (finally) went down. With Potter and this new-look squad there’s a great opportunity here to rebuild properly. If we went back up to the Premier League this season it would feel too soon, and I don’t want us to be another yo-yo team going up and down every couple of years. I’d rather stay in the Championship for a bit, rebuild so we can take the Premier League on properly again.
QIf you were Norwich boss, who would you be wary of this afternoon?
AI’d be wary of what starting XI Potter will pick as we never know by now! We’ve even been switching up our goalkeepers this season. The main man at the moment is Dan James. His pace down the wing has caused teams a lot of problems and they don’t know what to do with him. Connor Roberts is another one to look out for. They’ve both come up from the academy and I’ve loved watching them play this season.
QAnd from a Swansea perspective, who do you consider Norwich’s dangerman?
AMoritz Leitner has impressed me so far this season as well as Teemu Pukki and Mario Vrancic. Onel Hernandez is a handy winger as well.
Q And can we also have your score prediction?
AIt’s always difficult to predict after an international break because teams can lose momentum, but of course I’m hoping for a Swans win. I’m going for 1-0 Swansea.