Jay's relishing healthy competition
19th July 2016
Leon Britton, Jack Cork, Ki Sung-Yueng and Leroy Fer are among the big-hitters he faces in the scrap for game-time at Swansea City.
But after committing himself to the club for another four years, Jay Fulton is hungry to ensure 2016-17 is the season where he really makes a mark at the Liberty Stadium.
Swans fans have had glimpses of what the young Scot is capable of since he arrived back in January 2014.
But Fulton wants more.
After nine Swans appearances in two-and-a-half years, a player who had racked up more than 100 first-team games at Falkirk before heading south is keen to play regular football again.
"Hopefully I might get a run of games this season," says Fulton, who was among the Swans squad which returned from the club's ten-day tour in America on Monday.
"Most of the time when I have played for Swansea, it has been a case of playing one game and then waiting a few weeks or a month for another one.
"It's hard to keep up with the tempo of games when you are in and out of the side like that. A run of games would be great."
Fulton was the first of a number of players who have swapped Falkirk for Swansea in recent times.
Despite his considerable experience of senior football in his homeland, he was not expected to push for first-team football for a while after swapping the Scottish second tier for the Premier League.
Yet having taken over from Michael Laudrup not long after Fulton signed, Garry Monk saw enough in the new recruit to hand him a Premier League debut at the back end of 2013-14.
"When I first came down, it was a surprise for me and other people probably that I got into the first team as quickly as I did," Fulton recalls.
"I signed in the January and I played a couple of games at the end of that first season.
"I then came back for the next season hoping to hit the ground running and I got injured on the first day of pre-season. I was out for two months and that knocked me back a bit.
"I would have liked to kick on a bit quicker and, looking back, I could have done without the injury."
Despite that early fitness problem, Fulton managed five more appearances in 2014-15.
"I played in the game at Southampton, and at Liverpool away in the cup, so I did get some game-time," he says.
"But having got into the team so soon when I first came down, I wanted more games more quickly.
"Then last season I went away on loan to Oldham. That was just about trying to get some game-time.
"It was a good experience for me, but going on loan also shows you where you want to play football. You want to stay as high as you can - you don't really want to drop down the leagues if possible.
"Now I have to look forward to this season and to trying to push my way in."
After his temporary stint playing League One football at Boundary Park, Fulton managed a couple of Swans appearances - as a substitute in memorable victories over Arsenal and Liverpool - in the closing weeks of last season.
And having been given a brief taste of life in Francesco Guidolin's first team, Fulton is keen to play for the Italian more often after featuring in the friendly fixtures with Charlotte Independence and Richmond Kickers during the club's US tour.
"He comes across well on the training pitch - the way he wants his teams to set up and how he wants to play," he says.
"When he first came in, he was just trying to get the wins on the board.
"But I made a couple of appearances against Arsenal and Liverpool and hopefully now that he knows a bit more about me, he may give me some more games.
"We have quite a lot of players for what really are two midfield positions, but you just have to train well and be ready.
"You never know when suspensions or injuries might come and, if I am training well, hopefully I will get in."