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Blackburn Rovers 0 v 1 Swansea City
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 28th October 2023 Kick-off 15:00
Duff questioned on Swansea City injuries
Friday, 27th Oct 2023 08:00 by Keith Haynes & Liam Walters

Long term BBC Wales reporter Rob Phillips asked some hard questions of Swansea head coach Michael Duff before he set off for two days of preparation time with his squad. The Swans will be at England’s training base at St George’s Park in the run up to Saturdays Championship game at Blackburn Rovers.

On the injury issues Duff had the answers ready when asked about the potential for his training and preparation for games being a possible reason for such a long injury list. So far the Swans have Nathan Wood, Joe Allen, Josh Ginnelly and Azeem Abdulai out long term. In recent weeks Ben Cabango, Josh Key and Mykola Kukharevych have been missing from games, plus Josh Tymon and Kristian Pedersen have been in similar positions.

That seems an awful amount of injuries, at least on the face of it.

On that issue Duff has said. “The squad being short, it is what it is. It’s all reviewed, you look at the injury list, it’s the muscle injuries, that’s when the physio’s and the sports scientists, they are the ones that they don’t like. It is fatigue based, could we have done something different, yes, but it’s examined all the time. We’ve got a lot of people in the medical department. And coaches as well because we work with them, how are sessions built, that’s why we do things like today, travel on a Thursday. So we don’t pick up those muscle injuries. But nearly all the injuries we’ve had have been contact. And it’s a contact sport there’s not a lot you can do about it”

From that we can sort of workout that the head coach doesn’t think his training principles which are becoming renowned as being hard and physically demanding are not to blame for the amount of players unavailable. “We do worry about it, because we try and avoid it, and we try and prep. But there’s other factors as well in terms of the length of games that are going on. I’m not the first person to have spoken about it, but the numbers that people are doing now. The Championship is relentless”

On that point there have been two international breaks so far over the past six weeks. November see’s the Swans playing four games in thirty days. October brings five games in thirty one days. That’s nine games of football in sixty one days. That’s not relentless. There’s too much play on this from managers of all clubs. We ‘think’ that the comment regards the length of games is referencing the time that players are now on the pitch. We can’t quite buy that either because all the injuries are from players who aren’t away internationally, or if they have, they haven’t been recently. Liam Cullen as an example has played in most games this season and has been away with Wales, so that’s not reason enough for the injury situation. Bashir Humphreys and Charlie Patino has been away with England as well.

Playing an average of seven minutes extra per league game is no excuse for players being tired either.

Duff ended the tough questions on injuries by stating. “We haven’t got the luxury of going right we will take those eleven out and we will put, we haven’t got like for like in every position. And people will have to play under fatigue and that brings potential risk in which we are trying to reduce as much as possible. It is what it is “

Is it ?

Clearly then there are no age grade players considered good enough to step up to the first team and those on the bench such as Cameron Congreve and Sam Parker are merely there to make up the numbers. We genuinely believe Duff is suffering from the bad luck that he referred to yesterday. It’s a fact that with so many injuries or players carrying injuries that the tiring demands on players will take their toll. We take on board as well that preparation for games is done with an eye on recovery as much as looking ahead to the next fixture. Well, the Swans are under strength, they are suffering from an extended injury list - and it’s quite obvious that players will have to be selected when not at one hundred percent because their back up isn’t of the quality desired.

That’s the fact of the matter, and as Michael Duff says ‘It is what it is’ …

Artwork by Swansea Independent

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