Date:Saturday April 19 2008
Roberto Martinez has had sensational success in his first full season of management after steering the club to the second tier of British football for the first time in 24 years.
No one would begrudge the Spaniard for raising a wry smile as Swansea look set to finish the season in style with the capture of the league one title. This afternoon Russell Slade`s Yeovil Town side, roll into the Liberty Stadium hoping to put the promotion party on hold. It has been not difficult to focus the minds of the Squad ahead of a potential title decider as the Spaniard alludes too.
Roberto Martinez told Vital Swansea:
"I think you don`t need much when you got the possibility to try and compete for a title; I think the focus and the concentration will be there especially with the kind of group of players we have here who have shown a great responsibility throughout the season.
" We know its going to be difficult they are not safe yet mathematically, they need to get some points and that will make them a very dangerous team, if we can be positive and getting the confidence of Gillingham result when you can seal promotion you can really express yourself and try to be positive with our approach. I`m really looking forward to what will be a special occasion as well as a good game"added the tactician.
With promotion firmly in the bag Martinez is already planning for the Championship and insists it`s a challenge that everyone at the club has been relishing.
" It a challenge that we have been all been looking forward too, obviously at this stage of the season, we have three games to play we are all exited and as a football club we need to enjoy the moment, the championship is going to be a tough division as you know it`s a very level division, anyone can beat anyone."
The Liberty Stadium will play host to the likes of Derby County , Norwich City, Charlton Athletic and is set to see the resumption of the welsh derby against Cardiff City. Swansea will have to adapt to their lofty surroundings in the Championship but the imposing nature that some stadiums bring to bear does not phase the former Chester City player and firmly believes that it will benefit the players.
"Yes it is especially with the grounds we are going too, everywhere will be like the Liberty Stadium in that respect it will make it easier. Think in league one the difficulties you`ll see it`s that you need to play a certain way at home and then you`ll need to adapt completely different to the grounds that you will be away from home I think the likes of Nottingham Forest and Leeds found it difficult. The championship should be that little bit easier saying that you are going to play against bigger football clubs and better squads of players the challenge is there for us."
Giving his first indication of where he plans to strengthen over the course of the summer, Martinez has highlighted the need to strengthen the defensive quarters.
" We have a couple of players who are out of contract at the moment we need to finalise details , but the area we need to strengthen is at the back you will be looking at a man per line really and at the back probably two bodies we need because we have had a few injuries.
Strengthening the defensive line for the remainder of the season was a priority and turning his attentions to Edgley Park home of Stockport County he dully snapped up their 23 year old captain Ashley Williams on loan until the end of the season. Williams who is set to break the club transfer record should he sign outright would cost the club in the region of £350,000. The price tag has not hampered Swansea from making efforts from securing the player on a permanent deal as the club are trying to secure the services of the highly rated defender, as the Spaniard confirms.
"We are trying too Ashley has settled really really well think he likes the football club and he would like to be part of the future."
With three Manager of the Month awards to his name who would bet against the man who has all the hallmarks of stepping forward into the higher echelons of the game weather that be with Swansea City or elsewhere.
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Date:Saturday April 19 2008
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