Liberty feelgood factor excites Gary Richards

30th August 2019

Swansea City Under-23s’ coach Gary Richards says there is plenty of excitement in the camp ahead of the development side’s opening stadium game of the Premier League 2 Division 2 season against Stoke City on Saturday (12pm).

Please note this game will not be streamed live on SwansTV, the only way for supporters to watch is to attend in person at the Liberty.

The under-23s welcome Stoke for the first of their three compulsory games to be played at the Liberty this season.

And Richards believes that the experience will play a crucial role in the progress of his players, who are aiming to get back to winning ways following last weekend’s 3-2 defeat at Middlesbrough.

“We always look forward to the stadium games, especially the home ones at the Liberty,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter what level you play at, there is always a real feelgood factor about them.

“You can see straightaway that all our players want to be involved and look forward to these games. I think they have to because this is what it’s all about.

“They all strive to get into the first team so playing at the stadium is an important part of their development.”

The game comes at the end of another hugely positive week for the Swansea City academy.

After Jordon Garrick, Ben Cabango and Kees de Boer made their first-team debuts against Northampton in the Carabao Cup earlier this month, two more of its graduates followed suit as Jack Evans and Tivonge Rushesha appeared in Wednesday’s 6-0 victory over Cambridge United.

Richards feels the pair’s exploits have provided the rest of the group with a timely lift as a result.

“It’s another clear message from the first-team staff that, if the players are doing well, opportunities with the senior side may come from that,” he continued.

“The staff have shown that they will give out chances whenever possible.

“Every time our young players get an opportunity with the first team – whether that be training or playing – they always come back happy and better for the experience.”

The young Swans have collected four points from their opening three league games, which have also brought a 1-0 victory over Norwich City and a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

Richards has challenged his players to establish a greater level of consistency within their performances – starting this weekend.

“It’s important for the players to understand that, in this league, you can’t leave yourself with a mountain to climb, like we did against Middlesbrough,” he explained.

“We started well in our other two games, but perhaps didn’t quite maintain those performance levels.

“Middlesbrough was a different type of game where we didn’t start as well but finished strongly.

“It’s now time to try and combine the two and make sure that we sustain our performance levels over a longer period.”

Fans are reminded that they can enter the Liberty Stadium for free on Saturday, but are encouraged to donate to charity.