Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Monday October 25 2010
Since Roberto Martinez left South Wales to become manager of Wigan Athletic there appears to be quite a bit of animosity aimed in his and the Latics direction, so I suppose it was inevitable that at some point we would draw Swansea City in one of the cup competitions
So round four of this seasons Carling Cup sees our paths cross at the DW Stadium and, with the best intentions in mind, I thought I`d better build some bridges and invite Swans fan and Vital Swansea editor Kevin Elphick over to worbo`s place for a brew and a chat ahead of the big game.
Lets see how it all went:
worbo - Welcome to Wigan Kev, I hope all is well, I see the Swans have made a great start to the season and a good result on Saturday against Sven`s Leicester has pushed you up to 3rd, is it how you expected the season to pan out so early?
Kev - Definitely not. I, like most Swans fans I imagine would have been happy to be in mid-table at this stage. Few of us were encouraged and optimistic with the news of Rodgers' appointment before the season started - what with bigger names being linked to the job, but it didn't take him long to excite the fans with his attacking style and ability to sign players like Scott Sinclair. Now he's got us right behind him after such an impressive start to the campaign.
After a forgetful spell at Reading, we didn't know what to expect from Rodgers and how well he'd do here, but yet again our board of directors look like they've made another superb managerial appointment. It hasn't taken him long to improve our goalscoring, after struggling for goals last year under a very defensively-minded manager Paulo Sousa.
worbo - New boss at the helm then, Brendan Rodgers, he is a very well respected football man, has he brought any changes to the way the Swans play or has he carried on in the same style has his two predecessors?
Kev - Rodgers has certainly made some changes to our style of play, we're still a good passing side who like to keep the ball on the floor - much like Roberto Martinez's style, but we've made improvements to our attacking play from last year.
Rodgers seems to have got the balance between defence and attack about right. Sousa put too much emphasis on the defence which meant we scored very few goals. Rodgers however has got us scoring goals again and thanks to him we're seeing some very entertaining games again at the Liberty Stadium. I thought we'd concede a lot more goals due to Rodgers' attacking style but we've kept 3 clean sheets in the last 3 games.
worbo - Talking of previous managers...you know what`s coming...Roberto Martinez, a lot of animosity and it still appears to be smarting over one year on, why?
Kev - Martinez had a special bond with the fans, both as a player and then as a manager. He was an inspiration as a player - helping us during a very tough time in the bottom division nearly 7 years ago. We then gave him his chance as manager and he quickly transformed us from a struggling League One side to a good Championship one.
Martinez assured the fans that he wouldn't leave, only if he was 'forced out' like he was as a player. He kept showing his loyalty to us whilst he was here but the way he left was hard to take for the fans. He said absolutely nothing, and secretly jetted off to organise a move to Wigan with Chairman Dave Whelan. The Swans had made their biggest steps forward under Martinez since the early 1980s when John Toshack was manager. I think fans thought our progression wouldn't continue following his departure, especially as he took his entire management team with him.
It might have been a year ago now, but lying never goes down well with football fans, and he could have at least explained his reasons for going but not a word was spoken to us from Roberto.
A lot of fans still hold a grudge with him, but frankly I've long forgotten about it. We've moved on and we've improved since his departure. We're a much more solid team overall now, with a much improved defence, a good style of play to watch and potential to win promotion to join you in the Premier League.
worbo - As you know a couple of ex Swansea players came to Wigan, Jordi Gomez has taken his time to settle into the Premier League life but he seems to be finding his feet this season, unfortunately and not for the lack of trying, it didn`t quite work out for Jason Scotland.
Now we had Scott Sinclair with us last season and he was in and out of the side but didn`t really make any serious impact, he is setting the world alight this season with you lot, what have you done to him, he looks a different player, we had him on the wing, is that where he`s playing for you?
Kev - He's still playing on the wing with us but he's finally found a club to settle at under a manager he knows well, a manager who knows the player well. Rodgers has given him the freedom to go out and express himself and he's obviously playing in a system that suits him, and for a winger, his goalscoring record so far is amazing.
worbo - I`m not going to mention any Swansea players that I would like to see in the blue of the Latics for fear of getting strung up, but I do like the look of Darren Prately and Ashley Williams, they appear quality players and I`m sure they are set for big careers.
Who in the Latics squad impresses you Kev?
Kev - I can't say I follow Wigan Athletic that close to know the players well enough. N'Zogbia and Rodallega have to be the main two for me though. I also know that James McCarthy was a target for Martinez when he was with us but I'm not sure how well he has performed for you since he joined.
worbo - James McCarthy is a fantastic talent Kev and he`s been superb, unfortunately he picked up a serious injury on Saturday and looks like he`ll be out for a while.
I have followed Swansea`s fortunes for a few years now, ever since Martinez played for you, he is my all time favourite Latic, so with that in mind it would be great to meet in the Premier League next season and I would be genuinely chuffed if you gained promotion, do you think you are contenders and who are your main rivals for the three spots available?
Kev - I think we're contenders, definitely. We just need to continue showing the same quality and we can stay amongst the top 6. QPR and Cardiff are the strongest two sides so far, and QPR look good at present for automatic promotion. As much as I don't want to say so do Cardiff, but we've seen them fail in their promotion attempts late on a few times now! Neil Warnock reckons there are about 8 teams who can compete for promotion and I'd agree with that, I think our best hopes for promotion are via the play-offs.
worbo - Finally Kev let`s talk about the game, we have some injury problems ahead of the game and I wouldn`t like to guess at the team to be put out though I do think it will be a strong one, I am going for a 3-2 Latics win after extra time, how do you see it?
Kev - I`ve got to be optimistic about this one. Martinez always made a number of changes for the Carling Cup at Swansea but I'm not sure he will for this one. He's up against his former club plus it's the chance to reach the last 8 of a competition you can possibly win. Swansea meanwhile will be backed by a massive travelling support of almost 4,500 fans and we'll be right up for this one. A tie to remember, I can see it going into extra time, and from there on who knows, but I'm going to say we edge it!
worbo - Thanks for the chat Kev, I`m sure it will be a great occasion and I am really looking forward to it. Have a safe trip up and back but I hope the bit in between isn`t good for you ;)
Latics and Proud
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Date:Monday October 25 2010
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