Opposition view – Stoke City

We speak to David Cowlishishaw from Wizards of Drivel podcast, ahead of the Swans’ trip to the bet365 stadium this Tuesday to take on Stoke City…

How’s your season been so far?

Difficult. One win in seven tells its own story, and there have been some seriously poor performances to go along with the bad results – Wigan at home being a low point. I think many fans, players and dare I say it members of the coaching staff underestimated just how difficult this league would be. Recent games have shown some signs of improvement, but there’s a long way to go before we can think about challenging at the right end of the table.

Just like the Swans you have a new man in charge for this campaign. We’re you happy with the appointment of Gary Robert and what do you make of him so far?

Iniitally very happy with the appointment, as he came with Championship pedigree and his coaching staff contained the likes of Kevin Phillips and Stoke legend Rory Delap. So far though, he’s got a lot more work to do before he wins all the fans over. His signings have shown a very good eye for the kinds of player we need – and all the new players have by some margin outperformed the players from the Premier League – but his game management, and substitutions have left us scratching our heads.

What are your aims and expectations for this term?

Right now, I’m not sure, because we still don’t know what kind of team we are yet – maybe ask us after 10 or 15 games? Obviously promotion was the stated aim at the start of the season, but there’s a few of us checking that at the moment.

You made several signings during the summer, we’re you happy with the business that you did?

Overall yes, and like I said our best players have all been new signings. Ince, Afobe, Etebo and Woods are all quality players – particularly at this level. McClean and Williams may take longer to win people over but they could be the kinds of player we need. If I’m being picky, we really could have done with another option on the wing or in the left-back position.

Who are your star performers and who needs to up their game?

Surprisingly, Saido Berahino has been one of our brightest spots this season – finally off the mark with a goal, I was surprised he was dropped last week. He’s shown a willingness to muck in and be more of a link up player than previously, which is very encouraging.

Peter Etebo has looked great, he’s a fantastic player and possibly way too good for this division – great eye for a pass and always capable of turning defence into attack.

Ryan Woods’ debut at Hillsborough was – touch wood – one of those ‘missing piece of the puzzle’ moments, he was excellent. Up their game? Well, I don’t think Swansea old boy Joe Allen has played above a 6/10 in any of our seven games this season. For all the excitement when he signed a new deal, he’s looked lost so far – constantly out of position and looking like he has trampolines for feet. Also Ryan Shawcross has shown signs of his advancing years.

What do you make of Swansea and which players if any do you fear?

I’ve been intrigued by Swansea since you appointed our former player Graham Potter, who many fans were touting to replace both Hughes and Lambert. I’ve been very impressed, he’s got you good results in very difficult circumstances and he seems to have a certain motivational quality that has you guys playing a bit above your level.

Given our defence, any of your forward players should frigthen us, so I’ll be on the look out for your top scorer McBurnie.

Predict the score and where both teams will finish

2-1 to Stoke as we finally get back on track. Stoke finish 6th, Swansea 9th.