Matt Grimes | We want to keep pushing forward in 2021
Matt Grimes wants Swansea City to take the next step in their development as they look to build on a positive 2020 when they begin the new year against Watford on Saturday.
In a calendar year that posed so many challenges for so many, the Swans were at least able to provide some cheer for supporters by being among the Championship’s best performers.
Steve Cooper’s side reached the play-offs, and entered 2021 among the contenders for the automatic promotion places, albeit the head coach was quick to point out there is a lot of football still to be played this season.
They reach the halfway point of the campaign by taking on a Watford side who are also in the upper reaches of the division, and have retained a strong of quality and depth despite relegation from the Premier League.
It makes for an eagerly-anticipated encounter, and one captain Grimes hopes can start a year where Swansea continue to make strides.
“It goes without saying that 2020 has been a very difficult year for everyone, there’s no getting away from that,” he said.
“But, from a football perspective, I feel like we came on leaps and bounds as a side.
“We have put ourselves in a good position going into the new year, but the challenge is to keep progressing because that’s what it takes.
“If you stand still, you get overtaken, so we have to keep going.
“Fingers crossed we can also be back playing in front of crowds in 2021, which is what everyone wants and would only help us given how incredible our support has been.”
Facing the Hornets will bring Grimes and a number of others up against a familiar face in Ben Wilmot.
The defender spent last season on loan with the Swans, and will always receive a warm welcome in SA1 after netting the winner in a South Wales derby.
But Grimes hopes to make sure his former colleague does not have more reasons to cheer at the Liberty this weekend.
“Obviously, Ben was a very good player for us last year,” he added.
“He scored that goal against Cardiff, so he will have fond memories of coming to the Liberty but we want to make sure that is not the case this time.
“It will be another difficult game; they’ve got some very good players with Premier League quality.
“We’ll have to be on top of our game if we’re going to get anything from it.
“But we’re full of confidence, playing well and we’re unbeaten at home for a little while, so we’ll be ready to go.”