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Swansea City 0 v 1 Watford
SkyBet Championship
Tuesday, 24th October 2023 Kick-off 19:45
Unconvincing Swansea City, but there are options
Thursday, 26th Oct 2023 08:00 by Andrew ‘Jack Butty’ Winfield

The man they call Jack Butty, inspired by the romantic notion that things were going to be okay, now finds a duff note or two being played. If he had his ship now it would be limping in to Lympstone harbour, stranded in the estuary as the River Exe drags it down in to the cold and unforgiving, dark and deadly bowels of deep water Devon.

Yes, Andrew Winfield is back. And this time he has a few ideas of his own !

Unconvincing was the word used by the commentators for Tuesday night’s game against Watford. It about summed it up for me. There are lots of factors at play, including our injury list (something that needs looking at for the causes, as Keith has proposed, and how these may be mitigated); the game against Leicester took more out of the players than had been understood; and players coming in who may lack match fitness and sharpness.

All our players on Tuesday, including the subs, are good players. So, was it the above reasons and a bad day at the office? At just over a quarter of the way through the season, there is another widely acknowledged factor. With the close season seeing 13 new players joining the club, several of whom were not match-fit, Michael Duff is still working out his best set-up and players. It would be understandable that Duff needs to be given more time to try the different permutations as players recovering from injury and regaining fitness become available.

Overall, I’m happy with our defence, which has significantly improved since mid-September. Carl Rushworth (below) and Josh Key have done exceptionally well. Bashir Humphreys has stepped in for Nathan Wood/Ben Cabango without skipping a beat. If Cabango is fit for Saturday, it would be unfair to drop either Harry Darling or Humphreys. On Tuesday night, I thought Harrison Ashby did well. He was keen to seize his chance, and he made a good fist of it until he cramped up.

However, some areas of our set up can be improved. Some on this forum have suggested that Matt Grimes and Jay Fulton shouldn’t be picked in the same team. I like them both, but without question, Fulton had a very poor game against Watford. For me, Grimes has to play. He brings so much to the team and is invaluable as an outlet. The back four will often pass to Grimes, who always makes himself available, and will then arrange forward distribution.

Jamie Paterson, Liam Cullen, and Jamal Lowe have all been playing well recently, but the latter two are playing wider, and that tends to isolate Jerry Yates. As others have said on the Indy forum, Yates is not a hold-up style centre forward. He needs players close to him to play give and takes. He would also benefit from playing alongside Mykola Kuharevich, who has a physical presence, looks skilful, and will offer ball hold-up and gain ricochets for Yates to seize on. I don’t doubt that Yates will do very well in the right set-up.

What I’d like to see is:
* Grimes sitting in front of the back four, providing an outlet
* Continuing to give Key/Ashby and Pederson/Tymon licence to operate as wingbacks
* Placing either Liam Walsh or Ollie Cooper in midfield alongside Fulton
* When he is fit, introduce Kukharevych alongside Yates
* Two from Lowe, Cullen, and Paterson to link midfield/wing play to attack.

This may not work for all opponents, but I’d like to see it tested.
As fans, we all have opinions. These are some of mine. What do you think? And what are yours?

Photograph licensed from Reuters

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