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Swansea City 1 v 3 Southampton
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 20th January 2024 Kick-off 12:30
Match day morning as Williams looks to stamp his credentials all over Southampton
Saturday, 20th Jan 2024 08:00 by Keith Haynes

Luke Williams has already experienced the fantastic Swans support at Birmingham last week. His Morecambe debut in the FA Cup was a free hit with just a few days preparation. But today, as we all now know is the meeting of two minds between Luke Williams and Russell Martin the Southampton manager.

It was only a month ago the Swans capitulated embarrassingly at St Mary’s. The second half performance torrid to watch and epitomised the lack of fight and determination in this Swansea squad. Since then there has been a rebirth in belief, and Luke Williams has been the catalyst for this. Last weekend the Swans threw away two points against Birmingham City though a complete lack of concentration, do that today and it will be game over. However, since that defeat on Boxing Day the Swans have improved dramatically. Both Alan Sheehan and Luke Williams deserve credit for this. And we should also mention Paul Watson and Chairman Andrew Coleman who successfully captured Luke and his staff from Notts County.

Since the turn of December, right after the Leeds United defeat the Swans have played ten games. From those ten games the Swans have won four including the FA Cup win, drawn four and lost two. The loss against Boro was painful, the loss against Southampton we’ve discussed. But then we could easily reference away games at Stoke City and Coventry as fixtures that could have been won, especially Stoke. The dismissal of Michael Duff was pivotal to this run, the addition of Sheehan as interim boss worked, and now Luke Williams and his coaching staff have stepped up to the firing line. Looking back at those last ten games ( nine in the league ) that’s thirteen points from a possible twenty seven, just enough to stave off relegation fears.

Should this run be repeated over the next nineteen league games we should be looking in and around fifty nine points, but of course we expect an upturn in matches won. After all we have a new head coach with new ideas and a supportive coaching staff. There has to be a change in fortune. Turn some of those draws in to wins (four) and you never know ……

Bar the Southampton game away, and you could say Leeds United the Swans rarely get a battering. West Bromwich Albion away by the odd goal, (3-2) and with clear chances to draw level, then Ipswich away by the same score. The home defeats to Watford and Bristol City were proper smash and grab affairs when you look at those games overall. That poor game management can be changed. Luke Williams wants leads to be increased, and he is right, sitting back only ends up in one result if you are Swansea City. He emphasised that after the game last weekend.

Russell Martin has equalled a one hundred year plus record of games undefeated (Reuters)

Martin and his coaching staff have gone from villains to heroes, some of the insulting comments on him and his coaching team were appalling at the start of the season. There’s only one way to answer these hidden characters, and he has done that already. The vitriol from a fanbase that clearly doesn’t like the fact they are not in the Premier League anymore was the worst self entitlement I’ve read in many seasons. Up there with the other striped club, Newcastle United. The problem is, and will always be for Russell Martin is his openness, and then when he attempts to explain his methodology the football fan thick gene kicks in. It’s okay not understanding someone who has tried to explain a simple tactic to you, but then answering so insultingly when you clearly haven’t got the intelligence in the first place was laughable.

Yes, we all have them, everywhere we go, brain dancing lunatics with a computer screen window to the world, mostly nameless, shameless and relentless.

The favourites are the visitors, and a lot of people this morning will have them on their accumulators for sure. It should also be noted that there are still in the region of 1,800 tickets available at the time of writing. It seems not everyone is convinced. But what else can you do ? We are yet to see the true Luke Williams, and that could easily take another ten games. However, we now have some hope, so why not jump on the bus and see where it takes us ?

Photographs licensed from Reuters

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