Swansea City Fanview: 'We have to be realistic and realise we're a very small fish in a huge pond'

"We're limited with a strict wage budget that's pennies compared to the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City" - Swans fan offers his views ahead of the upcoming 2011-12 season
FAN: Kevin Elphick
WEBSITE: Swansea City Vital

The target: Avoid relegation

The target simply has to be avoiding relegation as the board of directors look for the club to continue on its long-term plan which has so far seen us go from the bottom division to the top in just seven years. It wouldn’t be a disaster if we did suffer relegation, as we have to be realistic and realise we’re a very small fish in a huge pond, limited with a strict wage budget that’s pennies compared to the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.

My thoughts on the gaffer...

Brendan Rodgers really has done something truly remarkable and hugely impressive in just a year at Swansea City. He’s managed to get us up into the Premier League in just one season and for that he’s already a legend – especially considering how tough it is these days to get to the promised land from such a competitive league as the Championship.

Not only the fans, but the players also speak very highly of him and they say how happy and enjoyable it is to work with him. A man with superb man-management skills, the fans trust him absolutely 100 per cent.

Our key man this season

Scott Sinclair. Nathan Dyer was our best and most consistent performer last season, but Scott Sinclair was the man who delivered the goals on a regular basis for us, and along with new record-signing Danny Graham, he’ll have to keep that goal-scoring form going if we are to have a chance of staying in the top flight for a second-successive year.

The former Chelsea winger has finally benefited from playing football on a weekly basis at the same club, having been on loan numerous times which made it hard for him to find good form.

Youngster to watch

Joe Allen has developed impressively over the past couple of years and he has continued to improve under Brendan Rodgers – who has shown plenty of confidence and trust in the young midfielder to make him a regular first-team player.

He may be a small player, but he’s not one to shy out of a tackle and he’ll relish the chance to play against the big-boys next season. Joe Allen is definitely one to watch and he’ll be an excellent international player in the making for Wales as well.

A player who must deliver

It’s got to be the £3.5 million record-signing Danny Graham. Last season’s Championship top goalscorer, he says he doesn’t feel any pressure, but he’s the man we’re looking at to get us the majority of our goals this season.

Not only Danny Graham, but Scott Sinclair also has to be performing to the level he did last season. He was our top goalscorer and he topped off his season with an excellent hat-trick that helped us beat Reading in the play-off final at Wembley.

Our Achilles' heel

The defence. Yes, despite our excellent defensive record in the Championship and keeping lots of clean sheets, the Premier League poses a totally different and much tougher challenge. We’ve lost our No.1 goalkeeper Dorus De Vries which is also a big factor. I believe we’re quite low in numbers defensively and lack quality replacements if the likes of Monk, Williams or either first-choice full-back get injured for any length of time.

Fixture I am looking forward to the most...

It’s got to be welcoming the champions Manchester United to the Liberty Stadium on November 19 and seeing a legend like Alex Ferguson on the touchlines, not to mention the likes of Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov on the pitch. What a challenge that will be!

There’s also the other big clubs such as Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City. I’m also an admirer of Tottenham and the way they play the game, so I’ll also be looking forward to them visiting us.

Our toughest opponents will be...

Manchester United. They are the champions, they’ve won it so many times, have so much experience at the top level and Alex Ferguson and his squad will be looking to retain their title.

Player we love to hate

There’s a few in the Premier League, most of which are in the Chelsea team for some reason – particularly Ashley Cole and John Terry. You can’t forget El Hadji Diouf either – does anyone like him, honestly?

My first choice XI







My verdict

It’s going to be our toughest season in years, that’s for sure. I was hoping we would have brought in more quality across all positions as I feel we’re lacking strength in depth particularly in defence, plus we need another goalkeeper. Is the squad good enough to avoid relegation? Honestly, right now I have my doubts, but I’m going to trust Brendan Rodgers and his team to do well and avoid relegation by a point and finish in 17th place.