Korey Smith relishing fixture that helped seal Swansea City switch
Swansea City versus Bristol City at the Liberty will forever be a notable game for Korey Smith for a number of reasons.
The midfielder, who spent six years at Ashton Gate, welcomes his former employers to SA1 on Saturday as the visitors are led by new boss Nigel Pearson for the first time.
Smith has a lot of affection for the Robins, for whom he played 196 times – the last of which came in a 1-0 defeat at the Liberty in July as the Swans’ play-off hopes were taken to the final day courtesy of Connor Roberts’ goal and a missed penalty from Famara Diedhiou.
It was Smith’s performance that day that led to his move to south west Wales just under a month later on a free transfer.
“It was a really good game, and Bristol City still had a chance to get into the play-offs but Swansea obviously went on to win,” said the 30-year-old.
“I was out of contract that summer and, as I had been injured for some time, I think Bristol City felt I was a bit of a risk in terms of offering a new deal.
“I was told that the gaffer (Steve Cooper) was asking the Bristol City staff about me, and was impressed with how I was so vocal on the pitch, commanding and encouraging my team-mates. He said later on when we met that he wanted more of that in the team.
“Little did I know that day that my performance for Bristol City would pave my way here to Swansea.”
Smith’s time with the Robins saw him help them top League One as champions in his first season at the club in 2014-15. His performances also saw named in the division’s PFA team of the year.
And Smith, who has recently returned from injury by featuring in the wins over Nottingham Forest and Coventry City, is looking forward to locking horns with some familiar faces – including former Swans loanee Kasey Palmer, who is now back with his parent club.
“It’s a club that is close to my heart. I spent six years there – my children were born in Bristol,” he added.
“I had great times there, but obviously it’s business as usual on Saturday. When that whistle goes, it’s all about getting three points. After the whistle, I can say hello to a few friends.
“Kasey messaged me on Thursday morning, so it will be nice to see him.
“They’ve got a new manager and they will be looking to impress him. They come here with confidence after beating Middlesbrough in midweek, but we’ll focus on ourselves and look to do what we can to win.”