OTJ column: Making progress

22nd August

In his second column of the season, former midfielder Owain Tudur Jones gives his views on all things Swansea City.

OTJ made 56 appearances for the Swans during a four-year period during 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.

Onwards and upwards

The past week has been hugely pleasing for Swansea City.

The game at Birmingham City was not one that is going to be replayed on television as a Championship classic in a decade’s time.

Swansea had to roll their sleeves up and show a different side to their game, and they did it well.

That point can be very satisfying when you’re involved, and it would have done the world of good to the young players, Joe Rodon in particular.

Tuesday night’s game with Leeds was at the other end of the scale, with a very different type of performance.

Supporters left with smiles on their faces because they had been entertained by the type of football they had become used to watching.

It was really exciting to watch, and if anything, the last two games have summed up just what the Championship is about – different challenges in each game.

Seventh heaven

Mention Bristol City to Swansea supporters and they’ll undoubtedly smile and say ‘7-1’ without delay.

It was an amazing result back in 2005 – we were in top form and had a great set of players.

Kevin McLeod bagged a hat-trick – one from a corner and another from 30 or so yards – while even my old mucker Leon Britton scored!

Lee Trundle bagged two and Bayo Akinfenwa was also on the scoresheet, and those names alone give you an indication of the quality we had.

I missed out on that game due to an injury I picked up the week before with Wales Under-21s, but our performance was one where everyone was on fire.

A telling thing about back then was that we had such a tight-knit squad.

We had some big characters in that dressing room, and McLeod’s voice was the first you would hear.

Then there was Trunds and Andy Robinson, so it was difficult to get a word in.

But we were all fighting for the same cause and we had a great connection with the fans. They could relate to us.

I have the feeling the current team has the same connection with the supporters – the players are showing they are giving everything for Swansea City, and the fans realise that.

And home form, no matter what the ambition is this season, will be a crucial factor for Swansea.

I’ve experienced that Liberty roar and it’s quite something.

But Bristol City won’t be pushovers on Saturday.

They thumped QPR 3-0 in midweek and I know Lee Johnson will really want to beat Swansea. He has history with Swansea from his playing days with Yeovil, and will be keen to come out on top this weekend.

Quick out of the blocks

Being unbeaten after four games is a great start for Potter and Co, and I’ve been really impressed with how they’ve gone about it.

There has been a considerable transition at the club over the summer, but the manager and players have really stood up to the plate.

Potter has changed things up for certain games, and his decision to move Connor Roberts to right wing on Tuesday night was inspired. It really benefited Swansea’s cause.

On the player front, I could go through the whole team with praise.

Oli McBurnie has worked his socks off in each game, but he’s also delivered goals too and that’s the key focus for a striker.

He needs help in terms of a different option to come on with 20 minutes left, because I don’t think he can play at that level of intensity for a 46-game season.

But his second goal against Leeds shows you the quality he has in his game.

Bersant Celina was brilliant on Tuesday, and it showed that playing him as a No.10 really helps the team tick.

He’s a classy player who has a swagger on the ball, and I enjoy watching him because he runs at players and isn’t afraid to try something.

Mike van der Hoorn has been a rock in defence and has also helped Rodon settle in. Rodon has really stepped up and the battle against Birmingham is something he will have learned a lot from.

Then there’s Leroy Fer, who looked like a man mountain against Leeds. He has a physical presence that Swansea need, and they suffered when he had to go off on Tuesday.

But he’s going to be a big player for this team and I’m looking forward to seeing him dominate midfields.

Erwin Mulder is another who has shone. He’s stepped out of the shadows having not played in over a year since he arrived, and he’s slotted in without a problem.

He’s a good shot-stopper and, importantly, he starts attacks very quickly.

It’s a great sign for Potter that the likes of Rodon and Mulder are taking their opportunities, because it shows that there is quality around the squad, even though I feel it’s essential they bolster numbers with a few loan signings.

Welsh Premier League

What a weekend it was in the Welsh Premier League.

The New Saints suffered a rare loss at high-flying Connah’s Quay Nomads while Llanelli recovered from their 7-0 battering at home against the latter with a 3-2 win at Cefn Druids.

It’s a good thing for the league that Connah’s Quay beat TNS – it shows they are serious about contending for the league.

It will be interesting to see how that pans out, but Connah’s Quay will look to follow that up with victory over Aberystwyth this weekend.

On Friday I’ll be at Stebonheath Park to watch Llanelli host Barry – two giants in the history of the Welsh Premier League, albeit at different times.

The Reds came from 2-0 down to win at Cefn Druids, and that’s a huge boost for them.

They are on home soil, and it will be a real shot in the arm if they can build on that victory with another three points.

Friday: Llanelli Town v Barry Town (7.30pm live on S4C)

Connah’s Quay v Aberystwyth (7.45pm)

Bala Town v Cefn Druids (7.45pm)

Saturday: Llandudno v Newtown (2.30pm)

The New Saints v Carmarthen (2.30pm)

Sunday: Cardiff Met v Caernarfon (2.30pm)

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.


Mae’r wythnos ddiwethaf wedi bod yn un bleserus iawn i Abertawe.

Dydi’r gêm yn Birmingham City ddim yn glasur o’r Bencampwriaeth sy’n mynd i gael ei dangos eto ac eto ar y teledu mewn degawdau i ddod.

Roedd rhaid i Abertawe dorchi llewys a dangos ochr wahanol i’w gêm, ac fe wnaethon nhw hynny’n dda.

Rwyt ti’n gallu bod yn fodlon iawn efo pwynt fel hwn pan wyt ti’n chwarae, a bydd y pwynt wedi gwneud byd o les i’r chwaraewyr ifanc, Joe Rodon yn enwedig.

Roedd y perfformiad nos Fawrth yn erbyn Leeds yn un cwbl wahanol a’r cefnogwyr yn gadael yn gwenu, wedi cael adloniant gan y math o bêl-droed roedden nhw wedi dod i arfer ei weld.

Roedd hi’n gêm gyffrous i’w gwylio ac mae’r ddwy gêm ddiwethaf wedi crynhoi popeth am y Bencampwriaeth – mae ‘na her wahanol ym mhob gêm.

Os wyt ti’n sôn am Bristol City wrth gefnogwr Abertawe, ti’n bownd o gael yr ateb ‘7-1’ yn ôl yn syth gyda gwên.

Roedd o’n ganlyniad anhygoel ‘nôl yn 2005 – roedden ni ar ben ein gêm ac yn grwp gwych o chwaraewyr.

Cafodd Kevin MacLeod hat-trick – un o gic gornel a’r llall o ryw 30 llath – a llwyddodd i’n hen ffrind Leon Britton sgorio hyd yn oed!

Sgoriodd Lee Trundle ddwy a rhwydodd Bayo Akinfenwa hefyd – mae’r enwau hynny’n unig yn dangos y safon oedd ganddon ni ar y cae.

Fe wnes i golli allan ar y gêm ar ôl codi anaf yr wythnos gynt gyda Chymru dan 21, ond roedd pawb ar dân y diwrnod yna.

Un peth allweddol arall ‘nôl bryd hynny oedd bod ganddon ni garfan mor glos.

Roedd ganddon ni gymeriadau mawr yn y ‘stafell newid a’r llais cyntaf fyddech chi’n ei glywed oedd MacLeod.

Wedyn roedd ‘na Trunds ac Andy Robinson, felly roedd hi’n anodd i gael eich clywed yn eu canol nhw.

Ond roedden ni i gyd yn brwydro dros yr un achos ac roedd ‘na gysylltiad gwych rhwng y chwaraewyr a’r cefnogwyr. Roedden nhw’n gallu uniaethu â ni.

Dwi’n cael y teimlad bod gan y tîm presennol yr un cysylltiad â’r cefnogwyr – mae’r chwaraewyr yn dangos eu bod nhw’n rhoi popeth dros y clwb, ac mae’r cefnogwyr yn cydnabod hynny.

Mae’r perfformiadau cartref yn ffactor allweddol i Abertawe, dim ots beth ydi’r uchelgais am weddill y tymor.

Dwi wedi profi bloedd y Liberty, ac mae’n wefreiddiol!

Ond fydd Bristol City ddim yn dîm hawdd i’w curo ddydd Sadwrn.

Roedden nhw’n gryf ganol wythnos wrth roi tair heibio i QPR a dwi’n gwybod bydd Lee Johnson wirioneddol eisiau curo Abertawe. Mae ganddo fo hanes gyda Abertawe o’i ddyddiau’n chwarae gyda Yeovil, a bydd o’n awyddus iawn i ennill dros y penwythnos.

Mae bod heb golli ar ôl pedair gêm yn ddechrau gwych i Potter a’r criw, ac mae’r tîm wir wedi creu argraff arna i o ran sut maen nhw wedi mynd o’i chwmpas hi hefyd.

Mae ‘na dipyn o newid wedi bod yn y clwb dros yr haf, ond mae’r rheolwr a’r chwaraewyr wedi camu i fyny i wynebu’r her.

Mae Potter wedi bod yn ddigon hapus i newid pethau ar gyfer ambell gêm, a roedd y penderfyniad i symud Connor Roberts i’r asgell dde nos Fawrth yn un ysbrydoledig. Fe wnaeth o wahaniaeth, yn sicr.

O ran canmol chwaraewyr unigol, fe allen i fynd drwy’r tîm cyfan!

Mae Oli McBurnie wedi gweithio fel lladd nadredd ym mhob gêm, ond mae o wedi dod â goliau i’r tîm hefyd a dyna sy’n allweddol i bob blaenwr.

Mae angen help arno fo i ddod ag opsiwn gwahanol i’r cae gyda 20 munud ar ôl, achos dydw i ddim yn meddwl ei fod o’n gallu cynnal y lefel yna o egni a dwysder dros dymor 46 gêm.

Ond roedd yr ail gôl yn erbyn Leeds yn dangos y safon sydd ganddo’n ei gêm.

Roedd Bersant Celina’n wych nos Fawrth, ac roedd hi’n brawf bod ei chwarae fel rhif 10 yn helpu chwarae’r tîm i ddod at ei gilydd.

Mae o’n chwaraewr o safon, mae’r hyder yn llifo oddi arno fo ar y bêl, a dwi’n mwynhau ei wylio’n chwarae gan ei fod o’n fodlon rhedeg at chwaraewyr a pheidio ofn mynd amdani.

Mae Mike van der Hoorn wedi bod yn graig yn yr amddiffyn ac mae hynny wedi helpu i Rodon setlo i mewn. Mae Rodon wedi camu i fyny at yr her a bydd y frwydr yn erbyn Birmingham wedi bod yn wers werthfawr iddo hefyd.

Yna mae Leroy Fer, oedd yn edrych fel mynydd o ddyn yn erbyn Leeds. Mae ganddo fo bresenoldeb corfforol sy’n angenrheidiol i Abertawe, ac fe wnaethon nhw ddioddef pan bu rhaid iddo fo adael y maes nos Fawrth.

Ond mae Fer yn mynd i fod yn chwaraewr mawr i’r tîm a dwi’n edrych ymlaen i’w weld yn cael dylanwad mawr yng nghanol cae.

Mae Erwin Mulder yn un arall sy’n mynd i ddisgleirio. Mae o wedi camu allan o’r cysgodion ar ôl peidio â chwarae mewn dros flwyddyn ar ôl cyrraedd y clwb, ac mae o wedi cymryd ei le yn y tîm heb unrhyw broblemau.

Ei gryfder ydi arbed ergydion ac, yn bwysig, mae’n gallu dechrau ymosodiadau’n gyflym iawn hefyd.

Mae’n arwydd gwych i Potter bod chwaraewyr fel Rodon a Mulder yn cymryd eu cyfleoedd, achos mae hynny’n dangos bod ‘na safon yn y garfan, er dwi’n teimlo ei bod hi’n allweddol i gynyddu’r niferoedd o chwaraewyr gyda ambell un ychwanegol ar fenthyg.

Am benwythnos oedd hi’n Uwch Gynghrair Cymru

Roedd ‘na golled prin i’r Seintiau yn erbyn Cei Connah, tra llwyddodd Llanelli i ymateb i’r chwalfa o golli 0-7 yr wythnos diwethaf gyda buddugoliaeth yn Derwyddon Cefn.

Mae’n beth da i’r gynghrair bod Cei Connah wedi curo’r Seintiau – mae’n dangos eu bod nhw o ddifri’ am gystadlu am y bencampwriaeth.

Bydd hi’n ddiddorol i weld sut mae hynny’n mynd, ond bydd Cei Connah yn edrych i ddilyn y fuddugoliaeth wych yn erbyn y Pencampwyr gyda buddugoliaeth arall yn erbyn Aberystwyth y penwythnos yma.

Nos Wener, fe fydda i ar Barc Stebonheath i wylio Llanelli’n erbyn y Barri – dau o gewri Uwch Gynghrair Cymru, o ddau gyfnod gwahanol.

Aeth Llanelli o fod 2-0 ar ei hôl hi i ennill yn erbyn Cefn, a bydd hynny’n hwb enfawr iddyn nhw.

Maen nhw’n chwarae gartref, a bydd o’n hwb eto os bydd y Cochion yn llwyddo i adeiladu ar eu buddugoliaeth gyntaf gyda thriphwynt arall.

Hefyd, cadwch lygad allan am bodlediad OTJ - The Longman's Football World Podcast – ar iTunes, PodBean a phob ap phodlediad dda.

Dilynwch OTJ ar Instagram a Twitter.