George Byers calling on past Liberty experiences
George Byers will benefit from past experiences when Swansea City host Luton Town in their first behind-closed-doors Championship fixture at the Liberty Stadium.
The Hatters head to SA1 this Saturday (12.30pm) as the Swans play their first game at the Liberty since the resumption of football following the coronavirus outbreak.
Steve Cooper’s side made a flying start when they returned to action last weekend as they beat Middlesbrough 3-0 at the Riverside Stadium, thanks to a Rhian Brewster brace and Andre Ayew’s penalty.
Now they host Luton, who prop up the table, as Cooper’s side look to complete a second consecutive league double thanks to a 1-0 win at Kenilworth Road back in December.
And the Swans will do so without a home crowd, with the Jack Army having to watch the game from the comfort of their own homes.
However, while Byers admits he will miss having the home crowd pushing them on, it won’t be a completely new situation for him to encounter.
“It won’t be the same without the fans there at the Liberty,” said Byers, who came off the bench in the victory over Middlesbrough last weekend.
“The fans are really important to us, both home and away, and both players and fans have a strong bond so we will miss them.
“But the way I look at it, it will be similar to when we played for the under-23s at the Liberty. We played there a number of times and those type of games don’t tend to attract many spectators no matter where you play.
“So a lot of us have experience of that. In that respect we will be used to it.”
Byers’ return to action last weekend was an unexpected one for the 24-year-old.
After damaging his ankle against Derby in February, the midfielder was set to miss the rest of the season.
But with Covid-19 forcing football to be suspended for three months, Byers returned to training this month before featuring for 16 minutes as he replaced goalscorer Brewster at the Riverside.
It was his 34th appearance of a campaign in which he’s scored five goals.
And after a lengthy lay-off, he’s looking to make up for lost time and push on in the remaining eight games.
“It’s not been too bad for me this season so far,” he said. “I’ve played a lot of games, which I’m happy with. I played 25 times last season in my breakthrough year, and I wanted to improve on that.
“This season I was looking forward to finishing the campaign strongly. Then the injury happened, and I thought it was all over for me. But I go again.
“Every game we have left is really important, so we’re determined to make the most of the opportunities in front of us.
“On a personal level, having been working on my rehab for the last few months, I’m just raring to play more and do what I can to help the team in the remaining games.”