Left back in the Changing Room #1 – Early Season Thoughts

Now that that the phoney war of the friendlies is out of the way all thoughts turn to the start of the very real battles ahead as Potter replacement Steve Cooper plans a promotion assault on the Championship. New ATFV columnist Hanna Cordingley shares her thoughts on a challenging start to the 2019/20 season ahead for Cooper and his Swansea City troops.

A new season, new fixtures, but as seems to be the Swansea City way there’s a new manager too.

It’s not uncommon for us to start a new season with a new man in the dug out, although with the recently departed Graham Potter I thought he would have stuck around and worked his magic for longer rather than being a one season ‘wander‘.

It will be fascnating to see what impressuion we get of Steve Cooper during our first 6 league games and the opening round of the Carabao Cup; it will be interesting to see how the team performs under his style of management and how new players, however many we bring in, adapt to the team and Swansea City as a club.

The season opener against Hull promises to be an enthralling and possibly tough game. Our last few meetings with the Tigers have led to maulings both home and away and that means they could pose a major challenge for Cooper and his team, especially if we have lost Oli McBurnie by the time we take the Liberty Stadium field.

By the time the second match comes around we’ll either be happy Jacks or we’ll be wondering how Cooper is to change and improve the previous week’s team. As the first away game of the season Derby County at Pride Park should be a great game with a lively atmosphere; almost all away games are full of atmosphere but the first away game always seems better – and a lot louder!

With Derby licking their wounds after losing last season’s play-off final and also changing manager after Frank Lampard’s return to Chelsea they will be an unknown quantity; from our perspective we’ll still be keeping a close and critical eye on Cooper and his team’s attitude towards him as manager. We’ve drawn more than we’ve won against Derby and that might serve to both dampen expectation on our part and inspire over confidence in the home side.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to watch either of these games as I will be enjoying a fortnight in sunny Italy but will keep up with everything on Twitter.

Next up is the Carabao Cup first round versus the Cobblers and that could be a real highlight for us. Cooper could be exactly what we need to get somewhere in this competition. Last time we won a trophy was 2013 and it was this same competition, under the guise of the Capital One Cup before it got rebranded. Cup games and our attitude towards them could be the crucial piece needed in our collective judgement of Cooper as a number of managers have promised to take them seriously but failed to do so.

Of course Cooper will have to balance taking the Cup seriously with using it as an opportunity to bring in some of the younger players with potential, such as Liam Cullen and Kieran Evans. Cooper has of course a Cup pedigree and with youngsters too, winning the Under 17 World Cup with England two years ago; did they triumph due to his genius, was there luck involved or did he benefit from simply having a great team? The proof is in the pudding I guess and we’ll find out if Cooper can repeat his Cup heroics.

Preston at home…rough game, great atmosphere. The team could be very different to what we are used to depending on the end of the transfer window dealings and any youngsters that may get a game in the Carabao Cup impressing. If Cooper does bring in a youngster or two for that Cup game and they make a good impression we could have a Connor Robs situation on our hands and we could see them more frequently.

We have won more than we’ve lost against the Lilywhites but we’ve had the odd draw too; it should mean we won’t be scared of them and it could be the beginning – or better still the continuation – of the Super Cooper winning streak (might have just jinxed it…oops!).

After Preston we’re on our travels again to take on Queens Park Rangels – sorry RANGERS. Contests against QPR are always intense affairs and the results are evenly split between wins, losses and draws so it makes it hard to predict which way this one will go. Cooper might have to work a little harder on this game to pull off an away win since we saw how last season’s away games played out for us. We generally struggled but this should be an early opportunity for Cooper to turn around our away form and performances.

Birmingham at home will be one to keep an eye on as the Liberty Stadium welcomes back Pep Clotet. This adds a little spice and means it will be compelling viewing. Clotet could receive a mixed reaction from the home fans as he was the assistant manager here under head coac Garry Monk, a man whose popularity has nosedived since leaving the Liberty. Clotet may put up a strong fight but hopefully Cooper will counter that and with any luck come out on top.

Dirty Leeds away at the end of August will complete a tough opening monthf or the Swans and will also be my first away ganme of the season. I would say I’m hoping for a clean contest but given Dan James failed to join the whites of Leeds back in January and joined the red devils of manchester in June instead there will be a potentially ugly undercurrent. The tension will no doubt be high but from a fan’s perspective that’s what makes a memorable away game and it could well fuel the players too, Oli McBurnie in particular…if he’s not pernmanently in Sheffield instead of temporarily in Leeds by then!

Overall, the beginning of our Cooper run could be what we’re looking for with some points to go with some attractive football, much like what Potter gave us a taste of. I believe we should get a minimum of six points from the first six games…

…but fingers crossed we get a lot more.


Do you have something to say on the Swans? Have you got a point you want to make regarding the players on the field or the men on the sidelines? Then why not follow teenager Hannah’s example and submit your own guest article to ATFV Onine?



Share this:

- Recent Posts