OTJ Column: A big week

13th February 2019

In his 13th column of the season, former midfielder Owain Tudur Jones runs the rule over the latest Swansea City academy product to catch the eye and ponders whether Wembley is within reach for Graham Potter’s men.

OTJ made 56 appearances for the Swans during a four-year period in which he helped the club win the League One title and the Football League Trophy.

Now, after a 13-year career which saw him play for eight clubs and earn seven Wales caps, he is working in the media as a respected pundit.

Here, he brings you his latest column.

Who’s going to make the late run?

It’s that time of year in the Championship where nearly two thirds of the clubs in the division take a look at the table and wonder if they are going to the ones to put together the run that is going to take them into the play-offs or automatic places.

I think the most famous example would be Crystal Palace under Iain Dowie where they went from being a long way down the table to eventually claiming promotion with an almost unstoppable momentum.

It will be no different for Swansea City and their fans ahead of their midweek meeting with Leeds. They are within touching distance and that hope is important for supporters when you reach the final stages of the season, it just allows you to dream.

Whether the club is ready to go back up straight away is another question, but you could say that is irrelevant because we play football for that hope and that possibility.

Of course, Leeds away is a tricky one, but they have not been on the sort of run they would have wanted and really the pressure is all on them.

But Elland Road is a special ground, in a day and age where there are so many new grounds, you can feel the history. It may not be as spacious as some places but, like going to Villa Park and places like that, it has a sense of heritage.

As soon as you walk out you know you are at a big club and playing in front of a hostile crowd. They feel the world is against them and that brings a real togetherness.

But, as I said, they have not been on as good a run as they would like and this may not be the worst time to go there.

Cup adding extra excitement

Sunday’s game against Brentford is another little bonus for the Swans. If you are going to have a cup run then it’s no bad thing in the sort of season Swansea are having where they are nowhere near the bottom and they are not right at the top battling it out.

It is not going to take their focus from anything else and there is a big chance for someone who did not expect it to have a big day out at Wembley.

It’s a genuine opportunity to have a good run, you are a game away from the quarter-finals. You are going to be excited about it and, if you get through and have the luck of the draw, you could have a very special day to look forward to.

That’s something really exciting, this is a squad getting their first real run in the first-team mix and experiencing a good cup run is only going to help them and aid their development.

Byers the latest young Swan to take wing

Speaking of the development of Swansea’s younger players, I think George Byers has done really well since coming back into the side and he is the latest academy product to really put his hand up.

He had his first spell in the side, starting at Stoke, and I think that was a selection where a few people wondered what was going on.

Not many people would have known too much about him before that night but he played well.

He played wide that night, but has then featured more centrally and looked a very good footballer.

The academy staff have done a great job, as has Graham Potter in putting faith in so many of these players and they have taken the chance.

They have been strong enough to handle the pressure and they are here to stay.

The nice thing for Byers is he has not come in and played safe and looked to avoid mistakes. He has been a leader in terms of always wanting the ball, not being afraid to take a shot at goal.

And getting that first goal in senior football is a special feeling. It will cement his feeling that he belongs because he has contributed and been a match winner and it’s a great feeling for him to have.

Connah’s Quay eye Hampden final

On the Welsh domestic front we have something a bit different this weekend as Sgorio will provide live coverage of Connah’s Quay Irn Bru Cup semi-final against Edinburgh City on Saturday night (7.20pm).

I think the change to the competition in allowing Welsh, English and Irish sides to join has been good.

I don’t know if the Scottish sides will see it that way, it was originally their competition, and they probably feel they have to protect the trophy.

They don’t want a Welsh team to come and win it. TNS have gone far in the competition and Connah’s Quay have a great chance to go further than any Welsh side has been, and you can upset Scottish football doing it. That’s what Andy Morrison will want to do this weekend.

For them it is something a bit different, and something additional to aim for is good because you face players and clubs you have not come across before. It almost has a European feel to it in a way.

So Connah’s Quay will be quietly confident, they face a side that includes a few players I knew from my time at Hibs. They have good players but I think Connah’s Quay have a great chance.

Leon injury a blow for Llanelli and the Welsh Premier League

The big news on the league front has been Leon Britton’s foot injury that looks like keeping him out of the remainders of the season.

It’s a real blow for Llanelli and for the league. You could see the attention he brought to the competition, and it is a shame for Leon too.

He clearly fancied another bash at playing and I don’t know if it will maybe put him off doing anything further, we will have to wait and see.

The irony is that he used to give me stick for being injured over the years, and I think he probably understands now why I came into professional football and was a bit more fragile than most after having four years at that level!

But you understand that is par for the course, especially when you are a name. The lad hasn’t gone to hurt him, it’s a strong challenge and it’s probably Leon’s own fault for being too quick and getting to the ball before everyone else!


Irn-Bru Cup


Connah’s Quay v Edinburgh City (19.20)

JD Welsh Premier League


Cefn Druids v Aberystwyth Town (19.45)
Llanelli v Carmarthen Town (19.45)


Cardiff Met v Llandudno (14.30)
Newtown v Caernarfon Town (14.30)
The New Saints v Barry Town United (14.30)

Listen to OTJ’s regular podcast - The Longman's Football World Podcast – on iTunes, PodBean and all good podcast apps.
You can also follow OTJ on Instagram and Twitter.


Blog OTJ: Wythnos Fawr i’r Elyrch

Yn ei 13eg golofn o’r tymor, mae’r cyn-chwaraewr canol-cae Owain Tudur Jones yn rhoi ei safbwynt ar y digwyddiadau diweddaraf yng Nghlwb Pêl-droed Dinas Abertawe.

Fe chwaraeodd OTJ 56 gwaith dros yr Elyrch yn ei bedair blynedd yn y clwb, gan ennill pencampwriaeth League One a’r Football League Trophy yn ystod y cyfnod hwnnw.

Nawr, wedi iddo ymddeol o’r gêm ar ôl 13 blynedd yn chwarae’n broffesiynol, mae Owain nawr yn llais blaenllaw yn y cyfryngau ac yn aelod cyson o dîm Sgorio ar S4C.

Dyma ei golofn ddiweddaraf:

Pwy fydd yn gorffen y tymor yn gryf?

Mi rydym wedi cyrraedd yr adeg lle mae sawl tîm yn y Bencampwriaeth yn edrych ar y tabl ac yn gobeithio mai nhw yw’r tîm fydd yn gwneud y rhediad hwyr am le yn y gemau ail gyfle, neu ddyrchafiad, hyd yn oed.

Yr enghraifft orau, mae’n debyg, ydi pan ddaru Crystal Palace, dan arweiniad Iain Dowie, fynd ar rediad hollol ryfeddol i godi o waelodion y tabl i ennill dyrchafiad o fewn yr un tymor. Bydd cefnogwyr Abertawe’n gobeithio am rywbeth tebyg cyn y gêm fawr ganol wythnos yn erbyn Leeds United. Maen nhw o fewn cyrraedd y chwech uchaf, ac mae cael yr uchelgais yna’n bwysig i ysgogi’r chwaraewyr a’r cefnogwyr tan ddiwedd y tymor.

Mae’n gwestiwn arall yn gyfan gwbl os ydy’r clwb yn barod i ddychwelyd i’r Uwch Gynghrair, ond ‘di hynny ddim yn berthnasol ar hyn o bryd.

Wrth gwrs, mae Leeds oddi cartref yn gêm anodd. Mae Elland Road yn lle arbennig, lle mae’r hanes yn amlwg. Pan ti’n cerdded ar y maes, mae maint y clwb a’r effaith mae eu cefnogwyr yn cael arnynt, yn dod i’r amlwg yn syth.

Ond mae’r holl bwysau ar Leeds, a dydyn nhw heb fod ar y rhediad orau yn ddiweddar. Felly efallai fod hon yn adeg dda i’r Elyrch ymweld ag Elland Road.

Cyffro’r Cwpan

Mae’r gêm yn erbyn Brentford ddydd Sul yn fonws arall i’r Swans. Maen nhw yng nghanol tabl y Bencampwriaeth ar hyn o bryd, felly mi allai rhediad da yn y gwpan ddod â gwên i wynebau’r cefnogwyr.

Maen nhw’n un gêm i ffwrdd o rownd yr wyth olaf. Os byddan nhw’n fuddugol, ac yna’n cael gêm ffafriol yn y rownd nesaf, mae ganddyn nhw gyfle gwirioneddol i gyrraedd Wembley.

Ac i garfan ifanc, mae rhediad o’r math yma’n beth gyffroes iawn a rhywbeth fydd yn sicr yn helpu datblygiad y chwaraewyr.

Byers yn talu ar y canfed i’r Swans

Sôn am ddatblygiad y chwaraewyr ifanc, dw i’n meddwl bod George Byers wedi bod yn wych ers gwneud y cam i fyny i’r tîm cyntaf. Dw i’m yn meddwl fod llawer o bobl yn gwybod pwy oedd o, cyn ei gêm gyntaf yn erbyn Stoke.

Ond mi chwaraeodd o’n dda yn y gêm yna, ac mae o wedi cael rhediad da yn y tîm ers hynny. Mae o wedi chwarae’n fwy canolog yn ddiweddar, ond mae’n edrych fel chwaraewr da iawn.

Mae staff yr academi, a Graham Potter yn ogystal, wedi dangos gymaint o ffydd yn y chwaraewyr ifanc yma ac maen nhw i gyd yn cymryd eu cyfle. Maen nhw wedi dangos eu bod nhw’n ddigon cryf i ysgwyddo’r pwysau ac maen nhw yma i aros.

Y peth da am Byers ydi eu bod o heb fod yn swil. Mae o wastad eisiau’r bêl wrth ei draed a dydi o ddim yn ofn cymryd ergyd ar gôl.

Mae sgorio’r gôl gyntaf fel chwaraewr proffesiynol yn deimlad bythgofiadwy. Mi fyddai hynny’n rhoi gymaint o hyder iddo ac yn cadarnhau iddo ei fod yn perthyn i’r tîm yma.

Diwrnod mawr yn Hampden i Gei Connah?

O fewn y gêm ddomestig yng Nghymru, bydd gan Sgorio rhywbeth ychydig gwahanol i’w gynnig nos Sadwrn, gyda darllediad byw o’r gêm rownd gynderfynol Cwpan Irn Bru rhwng Cei Connah a Dinas Caeredin (7.20pm).

Mae’r penderfyniad i adael timoedd o Gymru, Lloegr ac Iwerddon i ymuno yn y gystadleuaeth wedi bod yn bositif. Ond dw i ddim yn siŵr os byddai timoedd yr Alban yn cytuno efo fi, ac mi fyddan nhw’n teimlo ei bod hi’n ddyletswydd arnyn nhw i gadw’r tlws yn yr Alban.

Fyddan nhw ddim eisiau gweld tîm o Gymru’n ennill, ond dyna’n union fydd Andy Morrison yn ceisio gwneud y penwythnos yma.

Mae ganddyn nhw chwaraewyr da, maen nhw’n hyderus a dw i’n meddwl fod ganddyn nhw gyfle gwych o gyrraedd y ffeinal.

Anaf Leon yn ergyd i Lanelli ac i Uwch Gynghrair Cymru JD

Y newyddion mawr yn yr Uwch Gynghrair yw bod Leon Britton am fethu gweddill y tymor ar ôl dioddef anaf.

Mae’n ergyd enfawr i Lanelli ac i’r gynghrair. Mi ddaeth o dipyn o sylw i’r gystadleuaeth, ac mae’n siom i Leon hefyd. Mi oedd o’n edrych ymlaen at chwarae eto, a gobeithio gwnaiff hyn ddim rhoi diwedd i’w yrfa. Fe gawn ni weld.

Y peth digri yw bod Leon yn arfer rhoi gymaint o stick i fi am fethu gemau gydag anafiadau. Ond fel ‘na mae pethau ym mynd yn y gamp yma. Mi oedd o’n dacl cryf, ond doedd dim malais ynddi - bai Leon oedd o am fod yn rhy sydyn a chyrraedd y bel cyn pawb arall!


Cwpan Irn-Bru

Dydd Sadwrn

Cei Connah v Dinas Caeredin (19.20)

Uwch Gynghrair Cymru JD

Dydd Gwener
Derwyddon Cefn v Aberystwyth (19.45)
Llanelli v Caerfyrddin (19.45)

Dydd Sadwrn

Met Caerdydd v Llandudno (14.30)
Y Drenewydd v Caernarfon (14.30)
YSN v Y Barri (14.30)

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