Matt Gill | We want to finish this important period strongly
Matt Gill wants Swansea City to make sure they build on their recent form by finishing off a key period strongly ahead of the World Cup break.
Head coach Russell Martin had spoken of the run of 11 games in just 42 days between the September international break and the global showpiece as a potentially defining schedule for clubs in the second tier.
To this point the Swans have been among the strongest performers during the seven games they have played to date, taking 16 points from the 21 on offer.
But the schedule shows no sign of alleviating just yet with four more games to be played in just 11 days, and the Swans facing three away fixtures from their quartet before the league season pauses for the World Cup in Qatar.
Assistant head coach Gill admits it has been a brutal series of fixtures and he has been impressed by how the squad have stood up to the rigours of the challenge.
But he knows how important it is that they round things off strongly before they get a brief period of respite.
“It is a really important period and we want to go into the break in as strong a position as possible,” he said.
“We have to continue the performance levels, and if we do that we will get the outcome we deserve if the performances are right.
“We felt on Saturday (against Bristol City) we fell below where we have been in that early part of the game, and we need to get back to those levels and we need to continue to be prepared to be ourselves home and away.
“This period is a tough one, but we need to keep approaching every game the same this season.
“I can’t recall any period quite like this as a player. I don’t think I could have coped with this during my time playing!
“The intensity the lads have shown has been tremendous and when that dips a little bit from what we want, we know how important it is to maybe use the squad and freshen things up.
“It’s four games in less than two weeks and we need the right intensity and if a change of personnel is needed then the gaffer will do that.
“The lads have really embraced this period, as have the staff, and we just need to make sure we can enjoy the World Cup break having finished off well over these final four games.”
And Gill expects an obdurate Preston side to pose a stern test, given they have kept 10 clean sheets and conceded the fewest goals in the Championship so far this term.
“It is certainly going to be a tough game. They have conceded very few goals so it will be a different challenge,” he added.
“We have come across Ryan Lowe and his teams previously. Mike Marsh, his assistant, used to be here so we will look forward to seeing both of those guys.
“Saturday proved that every away game in this division is a tough one, and this will be no different.
“Everyone here knows Freddie Woodman too, but you know this league is relentless. Teams that are doing well tend to be those who are managing to pick up points away from home and if we can continue to do that it will stand us in good stead.”