Russell Martin and Swansea City relishing return of fans
Russell Martin says he and Swansea City will relish the chance to play in front of home fans again when they host Preston North End at the Swansea.com Stadium this afternoon (3pm).
The Swans have not played with a home crowd in attendance since December 11 as a result of restrictions imposed by the Welsh Government owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, those restrictions have been eased and Martin and his players will have the Jack Army back in force to cheer them on as they look to build on an encouraging performance and point at Huddersfield last time out.
Head coach Martin is delighted to see supporters once again able to attend games in Wales, with this fixture ending a six-week wait for fans and team to be together on home turf.
And he revealed the desire to deliver for supporters on their return has been on the agenda in the Swans camp this week.
“We are really excited to have the fans back, it’s been a unique and difficult time without them and we know it’s just not the same without them,” he said.
“They make such a difference, just look at the magnificent support we had at Huddersfield last weekend how connected everyone was.
“I say it often because it’s true, the fans have been great to us since we walked through the door and the staff and the players are desperate to give them a side to be proud of and that they enjoy watching.
“It hasn’t felt right to be without them for so long and we are glad we can all be together and have that connection again this weekend.
“The game is not the same in empty stadiums, it lacks those emotions that we all associate with the game and those things make a difference.
“We know we’ll have everyone right behind us and we want to deliver a positive performance, and that has been something we’ve spoken about as a squad this week.”
The Swans host a Preston side who have lost just one of their last seven games, and head to SA1 fresh from recovering from two goals and a man down to draw with Sheffield United in midweek.
The Lilywhites’ form has improved under Ryan Lowe, and Martin knows a tough test awaits.
“I have faced Ryan Lowe as a coach during his time at Plymouth, last season and this season in the Carabao Cup,” added the Swans boss.
“He did a fantastic job there which has seen him get the opportunity at Preston, and I think you can already see the impact he is having.
“Their style is changing and the stats and what we can see when we watch their games tell us that.
“They are physical and aggressive, but they want to get on the ball and play so we know we will need to be ready.”