The Football Season is back under-way tomorrow afternoon as Swansea City hope to gain promotion to the Championship this season at the third attempt.
The fans seem optimistic of us reaching that target under Roberto Martinez, who has worked hard throughout the Summer to sign some excellent new players.
We kick off against Oldham, another club with high expectation this season. The Latics have also strengthened well and tomorrow’s match should a hard content for both sides.
The Swans will be boosted by a strong away following of around 1,500 with the initial ticket allocation of 1,100 sold out.
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Oldham manager, John Sheridan:
‘I’m hoping we can get off to a good start, because we didn’t last year,’
‘I want the lads to be confident and full of belief they can do well in this division.
‘We’ve got a difficult first game, but it’s at home and we have to be aiming for three points,’
‘Swansea are quite similar to ourselves in that they’ve brought a number of players in, and I still think they’re very strong.
‘They are a big club and will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season — it’ll be a tough game, but it’s important we go in there and get the result we want.
‘We’re at home so we’ll be taking the game to them and they will have to deal with us. I’m only going to think about us and what we’re doing.’
Swansea manager, Roberto Martinez:
‘Pre-season has gone very well, we have achieved everything we set out to achieve and the bonus is that we’ve come out of it with very few injury worries,’
‘The boys have worked very hard and I’ve been delighted with their attitude.
‘I don’t think we’ll get a tougher test this season than a trip to Oldham on the opening day. They are one of the most experienced sides in League One, they are very well organised and they know how to win games.
‘They will make it difficult for us and you are not aways able to play pretty football. That’s why we will have to roll our sleeves up and battle for everything.’
Oldham Athletic Team News:
Pre-Season Ins and Outs
In: Craig Davies (Verona), Jean-Paul Kalala (Yeovil), John Thompson (Nottingham Forest), Mark Crossley (Fulham), Lee Hughes, Mark Allott (Chesterfield), Michael Ricketts (Preston)
Out: Will Haining (St Mirren), Chris Porter (Motherwell), Danny Philliskirk (Chelsea), Simon Charlton, Alan Blayney, Gareth Owen, Chris Hall, Kallum Higginbotham, Paul Edwards (Port Vale), Craig Rocastle (Port Vale), Paul Warne (Yeovil), Richie Wellens (Doncaster), Jack Obersteller (Wycombe)
Oldham have lost last season’s top scorer Chris Porter who joined Scottish Premier League side Motherwell. He netted 20 goals in 34 league starts last term. The Latics have replaced him though with Michael Ricketts and Craig Davies. Davies has 1 Welsh cap to his name and although he doesn’t have a proven goalscoring record, he has scored 3 goals in 5 pre-season friendlies.
Fortunately for the Swans, Oldham have a number of players injured for Saturday whilst Swansea will be able to field their strongest line-up.
Stefan Stam is a doubt after picking up a knock in a midweek game. Sheridan could be without 2 full-backs as Kelvin Lomax is also injured. Leon Britton could have an enjoyable time on the right wing as Sheridan is without a natural left back.
Les Pogliacomi, Michael Pearson, Neil Wood (all knee), Lewis Alessandra (foot) are also sidelined.
Player to watch: Craig Davies
The 21 year-old Welsh international striker has proven a big hit since his arrival and he’ll be the one who our defence will have to watch out for. He’s a pacey frontman and will keep Lawrence and Tate busy throughout the game.
Swansea City Team News:
Like Oldham, expectations are high this year and we have also strengthened in key areas. With no new injury worries since the impressive win over La Liga side Levante, I’d imagine Roberto Martinez will go for the same line-up. Andy Robinson’s impressive performance in that game will surely get him a starting place on the left ahead of Liverpool loanee Paul Anderson.
Jason Scotland and Darryl Duffy will form the strike duo – two players who can pose a huge threat.
Player to watch: Ferrie Bodde
Whilst the two strikers should impress, I think Bodde will be our key player tomorrow along with the rest of our midfield. The Dutchman has been consistently brilliant throughout the pre-season period, we just hope he doesn’t get too carried away and get sent off, as he had a tendancy to do so with his previous clubs!
Match Facts & Stats
Oldham did the double over us last season with two 1-0 victories so we’ll be aiming to vastly improve on that this year. The Latics reached the play-offs last season but lost against Blackpool in the semi-final.
Oldham have played 5 pre-season friendlies, winning 3, drawing 1 and losing 1. They last 2 were both 2-0 wins, against Macclesfield and Sheffield Wednesday.
Swansea have played 9 pre-season friendlies, winning 6, drawing 2 and losing 1.
Swans top pre-season goalscorers:
Duffy – 5
Anderson – 4
Robinson, Scotland, Britton, Mayol, O’Leary – 2.
It’ll be a tough game for both sides and Oldham might snatch a win having the home advantage. It’ll be close though and I’d be happy to get a draw. Vital Swansea Prediction: 1-1
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
Swansea v Walsall, 19:45
Saturday, 18 August 2007
Swansea v Nottm Forest, 15:00
Saturday, 25 August 2007
Walsall v Swansea, 15:00