Date: 14th July 2006 at 9:01pm
Written by:

Lisa Higgins (sbrjack) provides her thoughts and opinions for the new season.

After the Pain and the anguish we suffered of losing the play off final against Barnsely, the swans will be looking to secure an automatic spot this time round. With the lure of Championship football the Swans have found it difficult to acquire the necessary personnel for next season.

Key transfer Targets have slipped through the hands of the Swans. Roger Johnson spurned the Swans and signed for arch Rivals Cardiff City. Jason Brown a key target to replace the released Irish Keeper Brian Murphy slipped through the grasp of the club. Brown Subsequently signed for premiership outfit Blackburn Rovers.

The Swans have been very quiet on the transfer market and have not looked close to strengthen key positions ready for the season ahead. This was further compounded by news of Sam Ricketts’ likely transfer to Championship side Hull. In the last 24 hours Andy Robinson has added more pressure on the Swans by his comments surrounding his future at the Club. Robinson has been in high demand with interest from Championship sides Cardiff City and Southend United. In Spite of these rumours Robinson has been quick to state his loyalty to the Swans ”but, in an ideal world, Swansea is where I want to be. I’ve told the gaffer and the chairman that this is my club. I love the club and the fans.” The Swans will need to sign players and soon, if they are to be given time to gel with the rest of the Swans side.

After the Second part of last season, the Swans will have to learn from very clear mistakes made. They will need to learn how to defend set pieces effectively as last season key points were dropped due to the lack of communication and sloppy defending. This however was not helped by the Loss of Steven Watt and Izzy Iriepken in the Nottingham Forest game. This added pressure to our defensive line and stretched it to near breaking point.

The defensive positions will need to be strengthened and utility defenders sought after to ensure those mistakes are not made again, if they are not solved then the Swans will be under extreme pressure and key points will be lost again.

Last Season the Swans looked frail when in front, often during the course of the season the Swans allowed teams to come onto them. The Swans would often concede needless points if stronger defending had been in place. Psychologically the Swans did not have the mental strength to combat this; often the Swans looked ill disciplined and petulant where there was no need to be. A stronger sense of Discipline and organisational skills must be employed if the Swans are to clinch promotion at the second time of asking. In spite of this the choice of Captain would have been key in this. Gary Monk has been given the role of captain this season; however I feel this is a grave mistake. Monk has not been seen to be vocal enough in this role and is far better suited to Andy Robinson who never stops working and is a workhorse in midfield who can lead by example.

The Midfield area will be key again this season, however with key players like Owain Tudur Jones, Leon Britton and Darren Way all months away from fitness there is a concern that the midfield will also be lacking in great depth.

Last season the midfield players did not control the games enough and often their distribution was very poor especially from the wingers. Kevin McLeod will be staying with the club despite his problems with his application, Kenny Jackett has given the player a second chance and if he shows his true potential then this is only going to benefit the Swans.

However the positive notes concerning the midfield do not stop there, this season should be a good one for Shaun McDonald who has impressed in his first season as a professional player. He has shown promise and talent, even though there has been criticism over his ability to play against top opposition; he will only grow in strength and stature given the right opportunities and chances.

The Swans have no real problems with strikers, with Fallon, Knight, Akinfenwa and Trundle all potent in front of goal the Swans will have little problems up front. In addition with speculation over Lee Trundle’s future not as prevalent in the last few months his application on the pitch should be better now that there isn’t talk of a Portsmouth move.

The Fans will be crucial in the season; we can truly be the Swans 12th man/woman. I was dismayed last year when fans booed the players when things got tough just after Christmas. That wasn’t the time for such action, we should have supported the players, yes we were all very much disappointed but it proved counterproductive. Get behind the side and that will lift the side, if we don’t then what’s the point of being fans, that’s what we are there for to support them even when things are tough.

This will certainly be a tough season, what will be the outcome promotion automatically; Promotion via the playoffs or a season struggling in League one? Well the wait will be over soon to find out if the Swans will be flying high or struggling to get off the ground, first up is Cheltenham at the Rock on the 5th August. Come on people lets get behind them who are we? JACK ARMY!

Thanks to Lisa Higgins for her views.