The Swansea City season gets a soft reboot with a trio of new signings available, an international break behind them and Hull City in front of them. Has the two weeks on the training field erased the bugs in the Sexy Russ programme or will the Tigers have too much...byte...for the home side? Byte! Geddit?? Oh suit yourselves...
No more computer puns, I promise, I’ve pulled the plug on them now. I might have a chip on my shoulder for the rest of this preview though. I might even pull the plug before I finish writing it.
Talking of pulling the plug, that’s exactly what I did when I attempted to watch the extended highlights of the Swans’ last run out, the defeat to Preston.
A family birthday party (Happy 2nd birthday again Arthur George!!) kept me away from the live action and it appears to have been one of those rare occasions in life where I was lucky. It was quite promising when the away side grabbed the lead but the Piroe party had only just started when the Swans gifted the equaliser. It was a cascade failure from there and Martin’s men were well beaten in the end.
Talking of plugs being pulled out, if you’re having problems with your sockets then hit up the Pre Match Musings sponsor Swansea Electrical Solutions – now THAT’S a plug!
Everyone – manager, players and especially the fans – will be eager to get back to business after the international break and there will be extra excitement generated by the three Transfer Deadline Day signings who will all feature at some stage this afternoon, I’m sure.
But promoted Hull have an identical record to the Swans so far this term and you never see Tigers just roll over so it promises to be a testing afternoon at the Dot Com.
I’ll be honest I still can’t work out whether we had a good or bad transfer window. I certainly expect more outs than ins on Deadline Day given the fact we were already short on numbers.
We’ve lost a lot of quality over the summer; Ayew, Guehi and Lowe would be missed by any team in the division and the loss of local boy Connor Robs is a kick in the nuts, if an understandable one given all of the circumstances.
The flip side of the coin is that Sexy Russ got to bring in three highly desirable signings in Williams, Obafemi and Ntcham – and all three will provide Martin with options going into today’s game.
And of course the Captain has stayed put which Martin will view as a huge bonus, even if the bean counters are left counting the cost.
One interesting comment that caught my attention as Martin mooched over Matty in his Hull presser was the following little snippet.
As Russ waxed lyrical about Grimes being fully clued in to the plan that has been put into place the manager made the following telling statement:-
“If you don’t have a plan you’re really reliant on brilliant people. REALLY reliant on brilliant people to carry you through.”
Now I wonder if that was a little pop at his predecessor? There’s already been a dig or two about the players not being fit enough to play the style that Martin is demanding and it just feels like this is a suggestion that there was little structure beyond Guehi stops the opposition and then get the ball to Ayew and hope for the best in place last season.
Whatever plan Sexy Russ has in place, he’s got pretty much a full squad today to implement it with all three last day signings (mostly) fit and raring to go and Liam Walsh and Ben Cabango bolstering the ranks after recovering from injury and Covid-19 respectively.
Only Korey Smith and Joel Latibeaudiere are set to miss the party…of course, there will be no party unless Piroe is there…
Hull manager Grant McCann was just as eager for the international break as his dugout opponent today.
The Tigers have failed to win in any of their last five league games but at least the home goalless draw with Bournemouth stopped the rot after three defeats on the spin.
Perhaps a little worryingly for the Swans their opponents have failed to score a single goal since their opening win against Preston, which yielded four of ’em! Swans fans know all too well what generally happens next…!
What price a repeat of the 4-4 draw when the teams last met back in February 2020?
McCann has had to grapple with some key injuries as he’s also looked to evolve a squad that won promotion back to the Championship last season.
Nine players have come in and pick of the bunch might just well be Tom Huddlestone, the talented 34 year old plucked from obscurity after a full year without a club.
McCann will welcome back striker Mallick Wilks but fellow striker Josh Magennis and midfielder George Honeyman are likely to miss out, the former struggling with a niggling hip complaint and the hard working Honeyman only just back in training after injury.
The Ed's XI
The window’s closed, the likes of Lowe have been shown the door and there are new defenders, midfielders and strikers waiting in the wings.
What will Sexy Russ do?
Of the three new signings it’s Rhys Williams that’s most likely to come straight into the side.
The two other centre half spots are truly up for grabs with Kyle Naughton and the hopefully refreshed Brandon Cooper battling it out with Ryan Manning and a struggling Ryan Bennett.
The increased options at the back might well put a bit of pressure on Jake Bidwell, although the manager does seem to have a soft spot for him.
In midfield it’s almost certain that the retained Captain Matt Grimes will keep his place. I hope that with the distraction of the transfer window now out of the way the skipper will knuckle down and start producing again, taking more responsibility for driving his side forward instead if hiding behind his centre backs.
Expect Jay Fulton to take his familiar place alongside Grimes as it’s probably too early for Flynn Downes to make his return after a bout of Covid-19.
Further up the field the manager has some options thanks to the Deadline Day captures of Olivier Ntcham and Michael Obafemi but it would be a surprise if either features from the start given their lack of first team action so far this season.
That leaves Liam Cullen and Jamie Paterson in the driving seat to provide the support to the Party Animal Piroe up front.
Time for me to guess at Martin’s Men to start the game: Benda; Laird; Naughton; Manning; Williams; Bidwell; Grimes; Fulton; Cullen; Piroe; Paterson
I haven’t got a single prediction right so far – which is probably a surprise to nobody in particular. But I created a page template for this match preview feature and the prediction bit is included at the end, so I’ve got to complete the task and fill it in…and hope I don’t continue to jinx the side by prophesising a win again!
That’s exactly what I’m doing though; Hull have struggled for goals and also looked a little shaky at the back in the face of Championship quality.
With home advantage and the lift of some interesting new captures along the spine of the team the Swans should have a little too much for the Tigers.
One thing’s for sure, if we are going to keep ourselves out of the relegation mix whilst Martin gradually implements the style of football he wants then we simply have to be taking three points from games like this…
…and I’m predicting we’ll do just that…