'We must rise to the occasion'
Graham Potter reckons Swansea City must “rise to the occasion” at Aston Villa as they look to continue their impressive away form.
The Swans have lost only once in six games on the road this season, and that was thanks to a Joe Allen winner for Stoke which should have been ruled out for offside.
But that solid record is set to be tested this weekend as Potter’s men take on a Villa side who are under new management.
Dean Smith leads his new club for the first time this weekend having left Brentford to take charge at Villa Park.
He will be flanked ex-England skipper John Terry, who has returned to Villa as part of Smith’s coaching staff.
And Potter believes the Swans would be foolish to expect anything other than a stern examination despite the fact that the Villans have won only one of their last 11 games.
“We know they are going to be organised and they are going to be strong,” said the Swans manager.
“And we know that we are going to have to be good. We need to rise to the occasion, because I think this will be a fantastic football occasion and hopefully a great advert for the Championship.
“It’s probably as tough an environment as we could go into in this division.
“Not long ago it might have been quite a negative environment for the home team, where you feel if you keep them quiet for a little while the supporters might turn.
“But now it’s completely different. The supporters will be right behind Aston Villa because they have a new management team.
“On top of that, I think it will be an emotional afternoon following the sad passing of Sir Doug Ellis, who was hugely influential at that club and in football in general.
“That all means it will be a fantastic atmosphere and a fantastic challenge for us.”
The Swans will have almost 2,800 members of the Jack Army on their side after all available away tickets were snapped up well in advance of this weekend’s game.
They will watch their team take on a Villa side who started the season well – they won their first three games in all competitions – but whose only victory since then came against Rotherham a month ago.
“If we think we are going to go up there and play a nice game against a team who are not as motivated as us, we are wrong,” Potter added.
“Aston Villa are going to be fully at it and their crowd will be right behind them. We have to understand that because if we don’t, we’ll be in big trouble.”