George Byers | Competition for places can spur us on
George Byers is hoping competition for places in Swansea City’s midfield can help the club’s push for a Championship play-off spot in a packed run-in.
Steve Cooper’s side sit four points off the play-off spots with six games remaining following Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw at Millwall.
Byers, who had looked set to miss the remainder of the season when he sustained an ankle injury in February before the coronavirus pandemic, started his first game at The Den following the restart of football.
The 24-year-old had come on as a second-half substitute in the previous result – a 1-0 defeat to Luton – but played the full 90 minutes on Tuesday as a Bartosz Bialkowski own goal from Rhian Brewster’s free-kick cancelled out Mason Bennett’s opener.
With the Swans set to play twice a week for the remainder of the season, Byers believes Cooper’s strong options in midfield could have a positive effect on the Swans’ fortunes in the run-in.
Captain Matt Grimes, Jay Fulton, Connor Gallagher and Byers have all featured in central midfield since the return of football following the pandemic, while Yan Dhanda and Bersant Celina are also among Cooper’s options in that position.
And the Scot believes it gives Cooper a selection boost going into the final six games – starting with Sunday’s home clash with Sheffield Wednesday.
“We want to be pushing each other as a squad. The more good players we have the better squad we have and the better chance we have of picking up three points,” said Byers.
“One week you may be playing a team like Fulham, which will be possession based and you pick players who can adapt to that.
“The following week you may be playing a side who are a totally different type of challenge. That’s what makes the Championship so interesting.
“We can use five subs now, so even if you’re not starting you have a chance of making an impact.
“The gaffer says all the time that even if you’re not playing, you must be ready because you never know what can happen – a game situation can change, or someone can get injured.
“The gaffer has a tough choice to pick a starting XI, but that’s what we want.”