OTJ Column: Scary Dan and a tough assignment

21st February 2019

In his 14th column of the season, former midfielder Owain Tudur Jones eyes up an eagerly-anticipated FA Cup assignment, and reveals who Swans winger Daniel James reminds him of.

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.

As tough as it gets

I can imagine the joy Swansea City fans would have felt when they saw themselves drawn at home in the FA Cup quarter-finals, and how that must have changed once they saw Manchester City come out of the hat.

As a draw, it’s as tough as it gets. It could only have been tougher had Swansea been drawn away against Pep Gurdiola’s men.

But that is a game that will excite the players so much. The two clubs were in the same division last season – and that’s why there is that feeling of wondering why we have to face them – but a lot of these players did not have the chance to face these players in the Premier League.

So they will want to show they belong in terms of competing at the highest level and it will really further their progress in the long term.

It’s a one-off and they will think if they are at their absolute maximum, and Man City are a little bit off their game, who knows what can happen?

It will be an interesting one for Bersant Celina too. Any player has that little chip on their shoulder when they face a former club, whether you have been released or sold. You want to prove a point. It probably means more to the player than the former club, but you do think about it.

He will want to put on a performance and make a couple of people think they have got it wrong and he could have been influential for them.

That goal

Swansea got the City tie as reward for their second-half fightback against Brentford, where the stand-out moment was that wonderful Daniel James goal.

His pace is just scary. You watch that and it sends shivers down your spine because, as a former player, I can tell you that is something you just do not want to be facing.

It’s nice for Dan that it has happened so soon after the events of the transfer window. It was on TV, it has had a lot of coverage in the media and on social media, and it has put his name out there in a positive way.

He had been slowly going about his business a bit under the radar, but recent events have put him in the spotlight and anyone who was wondering about him or wanted to know more about him has seen exactly what he is capable of.

I noticed Graham Potter spoke of him having Premier League potential, and there is no doubt his performance has added to his value if he wants to move on in the future.

In terms of comparison I’ve seen mentions of Gareth Bale, but he reminds me more of Michael Owen because of his stature and the pace.

What strikes me, every time I watch the clip, is it seems like he is in fast forward with how fast his little legs are going. You’re thinking ‘this isn’t right!’

It is such an asset, but it will make him a target and in that way he reminds me of Ryan Fraser, who is at Bournemouth now but who I faced when he was at Aberdeen.

I got sent off for a late tackle on him, and it is things like that Dan will have to deal with as he will draw fouls – cynically or not – because his pace just catches defenders unaware.

With my tackle on Fraser, I was convinced the ball was mine right until he nicked it away from me. It’s that pace that catches defenders out.

Those sort of instances are likely to be part and parcel of Dan’s career, but he has helped the club record a fantastic achievement.

He’s also adding himself to Ryan Giggs’ options with Wales. He has had his cap, he is not an unknown and they are aware of him, but he provides something a bit different now.

We have seen Tom Lawrence, Harry Wilson and David Brooks in those wide roles and they are a bit part of Wales’ future, but Dan and someone like Rabbi Matondo bring that electric pace.

The impact they could make is considerable and Dan fits that mould and he might have stolen a march on one or two.

Getting back in the league groove

It’s back to Championship action at Sheffield Wednesday this weekend, and it’s your typical Championship game in many ways.

They will be a better side than they were earlier in the season. Steve Bruce seems to have steadied things and they have a lot of experience in the squad.

But I expect Swansea to go there and do really well. If they are on their game and the passing game is there, the progress being made is so obvious and it is coming together.

You will have knock-backs but I don’t think there is anything to fear. Swansea won in the city on the opening day against a United side who have gone on to do so well.

A mouthwatering top of the table clash

Live on Sgorio this weekend we’ve got a game that promises to be a big one at the top of the Welsh Premier League table as third-placed Barry host leaders Connah’s Quay on Saturday (7.30pm).

These are such important games with the split having happened, and it will ebb and flow between the top three.

Just look at Barry going to TNS last weekend and grabbing a 97th minute equaliser to get them back on track. There have been times in recent where it has looked like the wheels might fall off for them, but they’ve shown great character to keep themselves in there.

Connah’s Quay are buoyant after reaching the Irn Bru Cup final. Their confidence will be high coming down South, but I cannot imagine manager Andy Morrison allowing that to be a distraction even as they challenge on all fronts.

It promises to be a big weekend, and it will be for TNS because they know at least one of their rivals for the title are going to drop points. If they can take care of business they could steal a march.

It’s great for the league, we’ve been desperate for this sort of competition where it can go to the wire, as it did with Bangor and TNS a few years ago and I am sure at least two of those sides are going to be nip and tuck right to the end.

Bala Town v Newtown (19.45)

Aberystwyth Town v Cardiff Met (14.30)
Carmarthen Town v Cefn Druids (14.30)
Llandudno v Llanelli (14.30)
Barry Town v Connah’s Quay (19.30 – Live on S4C)

Caernarfon Town v The New Saints (19.45 – live on the Sgorio Facebook page)

Listen to OTJ’s regular podcast - The Longman's Football World Podcast – on iTunes, PodBean and all good podcast apps.
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Yn ei 14eg 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:

Yr Her Eithaf

Mae’n hawdd dychmygu bodlonrwydd cefnogwyr Abertawe yn gweld eu tîm yn cael gêm gartref yn y draw ar gyfer rownd yr wyth olaf y Cwpan FA ar nos Lun. Ond yn sydyn iawn fydd yr hapusrwydd yna wedi ei chwalu, wrth weld enw Manchester City yn eu dilyn nhw allan o’r het!

Tydi pethau ddim yn mynd llawer anoddach na hynny. Dim ond gêm oddi cartref yn erbyn tîm Pep Guardiola fyddai wedi bod yn anoddach mewn gwirionedd.

Ond, mi fydd y chwaraewyr yn edrych ymlaen at y gêm. Mi oedd y ddau glwb yn yr un gynghrair y llynedd, ond ni fydd llawer o’r chwaraewyr wedi cael y cyfle i herio nhw tymor diwethaf. Felly mi fydden nhw’n awyddus i ddangos eu bod yn gallu cystadlu ar y lefel uchaf.

Os fydd y Swans ar eu gorau glas, ac mae City’n cael gêm wael, mewn un gêm - pwy a ŵyr?

Mi fydd hon yn gêm fawr i Bersant Celina hefyd. Mae wynebu eich cyn clwb yn gwneud i chdi eisiau profi pwynt, ac mi fydd o’n benderfynol o ddangos iddyn nhw beth maen nhw ‘di golli allan arno wrth adael iddo fynd.

Y gôl yna

City oedd gwobr y Swans ar ôl iddyn nhw frwydro yn yr ail hanner i drechu Brentford penwythnos diwethaf. Yr uchafbwynt o’r gêm, heb os, oedd gôl Daniel James.

Mae ei gyflymder yn rhyfeddol. Fel cyn chwaraewr, fe allaf i werthfawrogi pa mor anodd ydi wynebu cyflymder fel hynny.

Mae’n beth da bod o ‘di digwydd mor fuan ar ôl i’r ffenest drosglwyddo gau. Mi oedd y gêm yn fyw ar deledu, ac mae’r gôl wedi dod a chryn dipyn o sylw iddo yn y cyfryngau cymdeithasol hefyd, mewn ffordd bositif.

Er yr holl sôn am ei ddyfodol drwy gydol mis Ionawr, mae Dan wedi setlo’n ôl i mewn yn ddistaw ac mae o wedi dangos i bawb unwaith eto, yn union beth mae o’n gallu gwneud.

Mae Graham Potter wedi dweud bod ganddo’r gallu i chwarae yn Uwch Gynghrair Lloegr, ac mi fydd y perfformiad yma’n sicr wedi cynyddu ei werth.

Dwi di gweld rhai yn ei gymharu efo Gareth Bale, ond mae ei siâp corff a’i gyflymder yn fy atgoffa i fwy o Michael Owen.

Bob tro dw i’n gweld y clip o’r gôl, mae’n fy nharo i pa mor sydyn mae ei goesau bach o’n mynd!

Mae’r cyflymder yn arf mor beryglus ond mi fydd timoedd yn ei dargedu fo fwy yn y dyfodol. Mae’n fy atgoffa i o Ryan Fraser, sy’n chwarae yn Bournemouth nawr, ond sy’n rhywun nes i chwarae yn erbyn tra oedd o’n Aberdeen.

Ges i gerdyn coch am dacl hwyr arno mewn un gêm. Mi oeddwn i’n sicr fy mod i am ennill y bêl pan es i mewn i’r dacl gyda Fraser - tan iddo ddwyn y bêl i ffwrdd ar yr eiliad olaf. Dyna’r math o beth fydd Dan yn debygol o wynebu oherwydd mae ei gyflymder yn gallu dal amddiffynwyr allan.

Mae o hefyd yn ychwanegu ei enw i opsiynau Ryan Giggs dros Gymru. Mae o wedi cael ei gap ac maen nhw’n gwybod bod ganddo rywbeth ychydig yn wahanol i’w gynnig. Da ni’n gyfarwydd o weld Tom Lawrence, Harry Wilson a David Brooks yn chwarae ar yr asgell, ond mae Dan a Rabbi Matondo yn cynnig cyflymdra gwefreiddiol. Efallai bod Dan wedi symud i fyny’r rhestr yna yn ddiweddar.

Ceisio ail-ganfod momentwm yn y gynghrair

Yn ôl i’r Bencampwriaeth fydd hi i’r Elyrch y penwythnos yma, ac mae gêm oddi gartref yn erbyn Sheffield Wednesday wastad yn un heriol.

Maen nhw’n well tîm nag oedden nhw llynedd, ac mae Steve Bruce wedi sefydlogi pethau drwy gasglu lot o chwaraewyr profiadol.

Ond os maen nhw ar eu gêm ac yn pasio’r bêl yn dda, fyddwn i’n disgwyl i’r Swans gael canlyniad da yna. Does ganddyn nhw ddim byd i’w ofni yn y gynghrair yma, fel ddaru nhw brofi wrth drechu Sheffield United ar eu hymweliad diwethaf i’r ddinas.

Brwydr ar frig Uwch Gynghrair Cymru JD

Ar Sgorio’r penwythnos hon, mae 'na gêm fawr rhwng dau dîm sy’n brwydro tua brig y tabl Uwch Gynghrair Cymru JD, gyda Barri, sy’n drydydd, yn croesawu’r arweinwyr Cei Connah i Barc Jenner.

Mi gipiodd y Barri pwynt i ffwrdd yn erbyn Y Seintiau Newydd penwythnos diwethaf efo gôl i unioni yn y 97ain munud, sy’n dangos y cymeriad sydd ganddyn nhw yn y garfan.

Mae Cei Connah yn y cymylau ar ôl eu buddugoliaeth i gyrraedd rownd derfynol y Cwpan Irn Bru. Byddan nhw’n teimlo’n hyderus wrth deithio i’r de, ond mi fydd Andy Morrison yn sicrhau bod eu ffocws ar y gêm yma, wrth iddyn nhw barhau eu brwydr ym mhob cystadleuaeth.

Beth bynnag sy’n digwydd, mi fydd o leiaf un o’r ddau glwb yn gollwng pwyntiau ac mi fydd hynny’n ffafrio’r trydydd tîm yn y ras, Y Seintiau Newydd.

Mae’r frwydr agos yn beth da i’r gynghrair a dw i’n gobeithio ei weld yn parhau fel hyn hyd at ddiwedd y tymor.

Dydd Gwener
Y Bala v Y Drenewydd (19.45)

Dydd Sadwrn
Aberystwyth v Met Caerdydd (14.30)
Caerfyrddin v Derwyddon Cefn (14.30)
Llandudno v Llanelli (14.30)
Y Barri v Cei Connah (19.30 – Live on S4C)

Dydd Llun
Caernarfon v Y Seintiau Newydd (19.45 – yn fyw ar dudalen Facebook Sgorio)

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Dilynwch OTJ ar Instagram (@owaintudurjones) a Twitter (@OwainTJones17).