|Derby County 0 v 0 Swansea City|
Saturday, 2nd October 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Swansea City injuries increase but that doesn’t phase me at all. It’s positivity all the way.
Friday, 1st Oct 2021 18:00 by David Cornish
Wednesdays defeat against Fulham will be completely different to the game tomorrow afternoon at Pride Park. We have a large number of players who are either not fit, not available for selection or still not up to the mark fitness wise.
Olivier Ntcham joined the injury list half an hour in to Wednesdays game which already contains Ryan Bennett and Michael Obafemi. Flynn Downes has already admitted he is still struggling to recover fully from his time off with Covid-19. Other players who are either not getting selected or getting limited game time can also point to not being up to speed match fitness wise. Joel Latibeaudiere and Rhys Williams are two I am thinking of, but I’m also referencing Morgan Whittaker and Brandon Cooper, two players which head scratchingly ( new word ) have seen limited game time this season. Liam Walsh clearly isn’t near his best fitness as he would have surely featured against Fulham ? The pleasing thing is Korey Smith, he looked genuinely much better on Wednesday than he did last season. That’s a plus.
And another measure of the fitness regime being implemented at Swansea City.
Morgan Whittaker is one player who really should be given an opportunity tomorrow afternoon, with all due respects to Liam Cullen sadly he has been relatively ineffective in his starts this season. Whittaker has a very decent goal return set against minutes played, he has an eye for a shot at goal, and put three past Plymouth recently in the league cup. The ex Derby player also showed the rams no mercy last season scoring against them in the home fixture. Seriously he really should at least be on the bench for selection at Pride Park.
Morgan Whittaker is now due a chance in the match day squad
Having said that the only other thing which is bothering me is playing certain players out of position, in the midfield we have natural midfielders, but it’s at the back I got a bit demoralised against Fulham. Ryan Manning is a superb utility player and has really played well when asked to play in unfamiliar roles. I really was surprised though when it wasn’t Ben Cabango put on the coat tails of Mitrovic in midweek. To rely on the far slighter Kyle Naughton exposed the swans keeper Ben Hamer for all three Fulham goals. I like Ethan Laird and his desire to get forwards is exciting, he just needs to get a shot away more often, anything can happen then. Like it did on Wednesday when he got a deflection which hit the bar. Jake Bidwell on the other side is a shoe in at the moment, which will probably mean he is dropped.
On Ben Hamer and Steven Benda I’m still not convinced about both of them either. Hamer came to Swansea on a free as a back up keeper, and has done relatively okay, but he isn’t what we at Swansea are used to. With a history of superb keepers it’s frustrating, including the fact Steven Benda is neither better, nor more suitable to the role. I’m pretty certain two of those Fulham goals would have been kept out by Freddie Woodman, another player I wasn’t that keen on, but better than what we have now.
This Derby County game is now a seriously important game for some. They have picked up a win in midweek against a very useful Reading side, and the rams will want to do the same to the swans. We aren’t desperate just yet for another three points which is why I think this game will be a draw. It won’t please certain swans fans, but we know this season is one for us to reconstruct and build. The desire to slate Russell Martin after five games was not only pathetic, it was totally unhelpful. Russell Martin and his coaching staff are trying to do something very special at Swansea City, something which he genuinely believes in as do most of the Swansea City players. So with that I’m uncertain why after a handful of games people take it upon themselves to be bloody minded and criticise him personally.
For me, our football is improving and our standards are getting higher, we are seeing a far better and much improved performance on the pitch. It’s exactly what Russell Martin said would happen, and it’s exactly what is happening. Surely for now that’s sufficient for all of us ?
Swansea City take on Derby County at Pride Park on Saturday 2nd October 2021 with a 3pm kick off.
Photographs licensed from Reuters
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