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Fan Focus: Swansea - Finally, Someone Less Optimistic Than We Are!

To get the opposition perspective on Saturday’s game and the relegation battle, Rory caught up with Steven Carroll from SoS Fanzine and JackCast Podcast.

RR: Can you gives us a rundown on the changes that are going on at boardroom level at Swansea? I keep hearing that fans aren't particularly pleased with the new owners and the supporters representative isn't being consulted as much now. Is that true and are there other goings on that fans of other clubs may not be aware of?

SC: During the summer a consortium headed by Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan bought 67% of the club and are now the majority shareholders. You are right, the fans are not happy, because the Supporters Trust have been kept in the dark about many things, including when Francesco Guidolin was fired and Bob Bradley replaced him. We still know little about the Americans plans for the club, sadly.

Huw Jenkins is still chairman but is taking a lot of stick for his actions. The previous shareholders put their own financial gain above the club which is quite sad. They should have waited for the right people to buy the club, not just cash in to anyone.

RR: On the pitch, things didn't start brilliantly and it led to Francesco Guidolin being dismissed. Bob Bradley arrived but things don't seem to have improved very much. Am I being harsh or are Swans fans not particularly keen on the new gaffer?

SC: Bradley looks out of his depth to me, he's tried various players and formations and nothing seems to work. He even made eight changes for one game which is crazy and he still doesn't know his best team or formation.

He is clearly a new regime appointment, Jenkins would not have appointed him in my opinion. But regardless of who is in charge the big problem is the squad isn't good enough. That was obvious in the summer and regardless of who is in charge, that problem will remain.

RR: Ashley Williams and, to a lesser extent, Andre Ayew were obviously big influences for Swansea. Do you think losing them is one of the main reasons for your struggles? Or perhaps not adequately replacing them, at least.

SC: Yes, definitely. Williams was a top defender for us over a long period but was also a leader and we badly lack one of them now. Defensively we are a shambles, 19 goals conceded in Bradley's 7 games in charge thus far.

Ayew is also a loss, he didn't really suit our style but got 12 goals in a poor side last year. He's been replaced by returning Nathan Dyer which says it all about our board. We made a profit on transfers this summer despite the bumper new TV deal. Their lack of spending is the main reason we are struggling.

RR: I suppose I should ask if you think you'll survive, given that we're both in the relegation battle. Are you seeing any signs in the side that make you think you'll get out of it? Could January signings improve things? Or is there an air of resignation?

SC: I think we're going down sadly. As I've said - the squad isn't good enough, the manager is out of his depth and I see no progress being made. We need 4 or 5 players in January who would go straight into the eleven. I can't see that happening, most of our fans can't see a way out of it either.

RR: Moving onto the match, who should Sunderland supporters be worried about in the Swansea team?

SC: Gylfi Sigurdsson is by far our best player but has been shunted out of position recently, to a false 9 or wide left. Bradley needs to realise he's a number 10! Fernando Llorente might cause you problems but his reward for two goals Palace was being kept on the bench.

You can see why Bradley doesn't inspire confidence.

RR: Flipping that question around, anyone your particularly fearful of?

SC: It has to be Defoe - one of our bogey strikers. He's scored every time he's played against us, for you. Elsewhere I don't think many players stand out but confidence appears to be building after three wins in four, so I'm not too confident for Saturday.

RR: What's the starting XI likely to be and how do you think Bradley will approach the game?

SC: Who knows with this clown. He'll probably make changes after the hammering at Spurs but honestly, it could be anything. He surely has to go with a striker in a game we need to win. If we try to keep things tight and nick a goal, it won't work as we can't defend.

RR: Finally, a prediction please?

SC: 1-2 Sunderland. Unfortunately for me.

Thanks to Steven for taking the time to answer our questions. You can give him a follow on Twitter, as well as checking out SoS and The Jack Cast.

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