The new Championship season gets underway on Saturday afternoon as the Swans face a tricky opening match away at Hull City.
New Swans boss Brendan Rodgers takes charge of his first competitive match tomorrow and the Jackarmy faithful will be looking forward to some higher quality attacking football that the young boss has promised this term.
There`s been mixed views amongst the fans about the new campaign. The majority seem content with Paulo Sousa`s replacement, and Rodgers has certainly been saying the right things during the summer – but can he do the business on the pitch? Most Reading fans would disagree, following his disappointing spell at the Majeski Stadium where he sacked in December 2009 following a poor run of results. The Irishman says he`s looking to put that job behind him and prove his true managerial ability at Swansea City.
Rodgers has had little time to strengthen the squad and has mostly concentrated on what he currently has available to him, but he is still interested in adding 2 players before the transfer window closes.
Chairman Huw Jenkins says the main aim this season is survival, but after a strong 7th placed finish last season, surely our main aim is a more ambitious mid-table consolidation? Paulo Sousa guided us to our strongest League position in nearly 30 years last year, but many fans were left frustrated with boring and defensive football. Hopefully it`ll be the opposite with Rodgers – who is a manager who prefers a more attacking style – but one that doesn`t leave us too exposed defensively.
Hull City meanwhile has also seen a change in manager, and it was their appointment of Nigel Pearson that paved the way clear for Sousa to join Leicester. Pearson did an impressive job at Leicester, winning them promotion to the Championship and achieving a play-off place last year. Surely his main aim this term is to get the Tigers straight back up into the Premier League, so they`ll provide a tough test for
Brendan Rodgers is aiming for the win but admits it`s a tough opening game:
‘[Saturday] is going to be a really tough game. Our first 5 fixtures are tough games, but I’ve got a great group of players here who I know can go into any stadium in this country and perform and play well.
We go there [Hull City] with good expectations and a positive mindset.’
‘I enter every game to win,
‘The philosophy in terms of our football won’t change, we’ll continue to look to control and dominate games.’
‘I enjoy the arrogance that we play with, it’s a charisma to the team that plays well.’
We go into every game to win, that will always be the ambition. It’s easier said than done, you need to work, you need a little bit of luck and you need to play with intensity.
‘Hull, one of the relegated teams, is obviously a difficult ask but I’ve got great confidence in the group. ‘
Hull City Team News:
Manager Nigel Pearson looks unlikely to complete a loan move for Spurs midfielder John Bostock, as the Tigers are unable to bring in new players because of their financial situation. Jay Simpson has also been linked with a move but Hull City have been left frustrated with the inability to make key signings.
One of the 2 summer signings they have been able to make is Sheffield United`s James Harper, but he`s out injured.
Jimmy Bullard is most likely not going to feature in Hull`s squad this season however, as the club are looking to get rid of their highest earner, a £5m record signing last season.
Craig Fagan is also sidelined with a groin problem.
Player to watch: Tom Cairney
From Vital Hull City:
It`s expected that Tom Cairney will start in midfield. He`s a young midfielder with whom the club has great hopes for, having come through the club`s youth setup. He played a few times last season in the PL, and didn`t look fazed or over-awed. His touch is good, and looks like he can run the midfield.
Swansea City Team News:
Brendan Rodgers has a near full squad to choose from as he looks for an opening day win at the KC Stadium.
Midfielders Joe Allen and Ferrie Bodde are both out with injury along with striker Craig Beattie and winger Tom Butler.
Right back Angel Rangel seems unlikely to start in a position he has owned in the last three seasons after he showed a keen interest to leave to join Premiership side Blackpool. Therefore, Albert Serran and Jazz Richards compete for the place. There`s also the option to Alan Tate to start there with Neil Taylor at left back, but he`s still young and inexperienced.
In midfield, wingers David Cotterill and Nathan Dyer look likely to start with Darren Pratley in the centre. Jordi Lopez, Andrea Orlandi and Mark Gower are the main contenders to occupy the other 2 places in midfield. Stephen Dobbie is the favourite to lead the attack ahead of Gorka Pintado.
Player to watch: Stephen Dobbie
It`ll be good to see Stephen Dobbie back in a Swansea City shirt for a League game again after his impressive goalscoring form at Blackpool during his loan spell last season. While he wasn`t massively impressive during the pre-season, he scored a superb goal at home to Cheltenham and hopefully he can show more of that finishing ability on Saturday and the rest of the season. Darren Pratley also has an important role to play in the heart of midfield.
Match Facts & Stats
Swansea City lead the head to head, with 28 wins compared to 22 wins for Hull City. The two sides have drawn 14 games.
Our last victory against Hull City was two seasons ago at the Liberty Stadium in the League Cup. Windass` early goal was cancelled out as Spanish duo Gorka Pintado and Jordi Gomez scored to win us the tie.
We haven`t won away at Hull since 1998, we beat them 2-0 in the bottom division.
There`s not too much difference between the bookies` odds for promotion for either club. Hull City are 6/1 while Swans are around 7/1 to finish in the top 2.
Garry Monk will make his 200th appearance if he starts, and Williams his 100th.
It’s a tough opening fixture for the Swans, away to one of the relegated Premiership clubs and we haven’t won our opening game in a quite a few years now. I don’t think it’ll be any different on Saturday as Brendan Rodgers will take a month or two to get his team used to his new style of methods of play.
Hull City 2-0 Swansea City
You can predict the match in our Prediction League here
Swansea City fans are divided on what they think the score will be tomorrow. 36% have predicted a Hull City win, 32% a draw and 32% a Swans win, out of 22 predictions.
Tuesday, 10 August 2010 – Carling Cup
Swansea v Barnet
Saturday, 14 August 2010
Swansea v Preston