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Barnsley 0 v 2 Swansea City
SkyBet Championship
Wednesday, 24th November 2021 Kick-off 19:45
Swansea City head northwards with their ‘Cultural Architect’
Tuesday, 23rd Nov 2021 11:00 by Keith Haynes

Russell Martin still can’t contain his delight in the fact that Matt Grimes has signed a new deal at the swans. After months of deliberation Grimes has put pen to paper on a new deal which could keep him at Swansea until 2024. The team head north today with their ‘Cultural architect’

A beaming Russell Martin has made it very clear his team are far better off than they would be without Matt Grimes. “If you're looking at it from a business point of view, it's a brilliant bit of business. But there's so much more to it than that. In terms of football, he really feels that we could build over a period of time something that he really wants to be a part of”

If swans watchers want someone to thank for the new contract they should look to two areas of the club. First the desire not to let Grimes go on the cheap by the American majority owners was one key area. The second is Russell Martin’s specific desire to create a squad that can play exciting and attacking possession based football. The progress seen recently has been confirmation the swans are heading in the right direction.

It was also the crucial part of Grimes decision making last week. “The way in which we are playing has been massive," Grimes said. "From the moment the new manager came in I knew I would take to his style straight away and I am enjoying my football now, probably more so than I have any other year. It is such a big part of a footballer’s life to be enjoying your football and the football you play”

Martin describes Grimes as his ‘cultural architect’ a player with exemplary discipline on and off the pitch and one who has a desire for self improvement every day.

For tomorrow’s game in Yorkshire Martin has Ryan Bennett back in the frame for selection, although Ben Cabango didn’t disappoint on Saturday showing maturity and confidence on the ball. Cabango even played the more advance role well, one that Bennett has been encouraged to do of late supporting Ethan Laird. Despite Saturdays disappointing end to the game when Blackpool snatched an equaliser, the performance gave enough evidence that the international break didn’t affect the swans whatsoever.

Brandon Cooper led the under 23’s against Charlton Athletic yesterday and is not expected to be selected, Morgan Whittaker scored in that game, another well taken shot from outside the area, but Michael Obafemi disappointed and was substituted on sixty minutes. The fact Liam Cullen was left out of the under 23 side is enough evidence to confidently say he will be on the bench against Barnsley. Rhys Williams will also be on the bench for this game bar any last minute defensive issues.

The Michael Obafemi conundrum continues with many swans fans preferring Whittaker to get a chance instead of the ex saints player. However, again his appearance yesterday may well put pay to his inclusion. Obafemi being subbed is potentially another clue that he will be on the bench again on Wednesday night. A pretty much unchanged swans team is expected to start, proof Martin has found his formula with what he has to select from for now.

New Barnsley manager Poya Asbaghi believes he is in the right place to manage the tykes out of their current relegation threatened position. "There's no secret that it's a challenging situation. We've lost nine of the last 10 games, we have one victory in the last 16, and what can happen to a young squad in this situation is your confidence is not the highest. "What I hope me together with the rest of the staff can bring is good clarity in what we need to do on the training pitch and good gameplans so the roles are more clear and hopefully with that you feel more confident in what to do. Just as much as your confidence can sometimes get lower when you don't get the performances you want, you can just as much gain confidence pretty fast as a young player if you succeed."

Asbaghi starts with a home game, that's a bonus, He will be without Aapo Halme and has doubts over Liam Kitching and Claudio Gomes for his first game in charge of Barnsley.

More Swansea City news as we get it as we build up to Barnsley v Swansea City at Oakwell tomorrow night.

Photographs licensed from Reuters

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