The Hatters begin February with our rearranged trip to South Wales to take on Swansea City, hoping to continue their recent form. We spoke to Amy Clement, to get the view from the Swans camp...
Tell us a bit about you and your Swans supporting background…
Heyyyy! First of all, thank you for having me on here, I'm really looking forward to the game. Supporting Swansea is in my blood really, although I actually grew up in Northamptonshire (so not miles away from Luton) but my Dad and his side of the family are all big Swans fans and it really rubbed off on me in my teens. Started going to a lot of games in the early Prem days and it's just been a never-ending up and down rollercoaster love story ever since.
Despite Swansea being sat in 17th in the league just after the halfway point, it feels like there is a wider project underway at the Swansea.com Stadium. What’s the general feeling from the Jack Army on the season has so far?
Oh absolutely. It's a total rebuild. I saw a photo the other day from last season which had 5 players in it, none of which are with us anymore. I don't think other Championship fans are quite aware of how much change Swansea are undergoing this season. It also wasn't an easy start to the season with Cooper departing so late. We are in 17th as we speak, but we do have a few games in hand of a lot of teams above us and what I've been seeing is very promising. Swansea fans are excited and 'Russ ball' is becoming very popular. There's definitely an element of patience needed but we are 100% heading in the right direction.
Tuesday will mark six months in role for Russell Martin, a manager who, in his limited time as a manager, has developed a reputation for his possession style of play. How has Russell taken to life in South Wales?
I have yet to see a negative comment about Russell Martin from the Swansea fan base. His possession-based, positive style of football is certainly the closest to 'The Swansea Way' in quite some years. Swansea had such an identity back with Martinez, Rogers, and particularly Laudrup and after a couple of years of Steve Cooper, people were desperate to see our identity come back. The identity that gave us so much success with the cup and in the Premier League. He seems to be fitting in well and enjoying the lifestyle - who wouldn't.
From our perspective, it seems like this Swansea side is a strong team full of excellent players with no standouts, however, is there anyone that you’ve been specifically impressed with this season?
I agree. Some of our players are flourishing under Martin and it's great to see. We do have some brilliant footballers and it's amazing to see them flourish in the new style, Kyle Naughton, Ryan Manning, Flynn Downes, Jamie Paterson (to name a few). I would say the standout for me this season is Matt Grimes, our captain, I haven't got enough good words to describe him and how pivotal he is to the team and the style. Grimes committing to stay at the club was a huge moment for the club and the fanbase!
Luton and Swansea played out an entertaining 3-3 draw at Kenilworth Road, with the Hatters (frustratingly!) throwing away a 3-0 lead. What did you make of this Luton side during the reverse fixture?
I remember being quite blown away by the first half, unsurprisingly. Adebayo had a good game I seem to remember. You played well and we were shocking. I believe we had come off the back of two frustrating draws and I remember thinking "ah well this is our season gone" but I couldn't believe the second half. I have seen a few people coin us "second half swans" because in many fixtures this season we have been a different team in the second half... you looked to be a good side and I remember being impressed, I predicted a potential playoff finish for you and I guess that's definitely still a possibility?! Will be interesting to play you again.
Time for some predictions - who do you think (i) will get automatic promotion, (ii) make the playoffs, and (iii) get relegated?
Tricky one this season, I also think it's going to be changeable til the final weekend which is super exciting.
I think Fulham & Bournemouth top 2. Blackburn, QPR, West Brom & Forest (maybe) for playoffs (Blackburn to go up). Reading, Derby & Barnsley to go.
I do change my mind every single week mind...
Finally, give us your score prediction for Tuesday’s game…
Tricky one. Form since post-Omicron/Christmas has been good. We are still working and developing but I think we have the potential to go on a good run. I don't think it'll be an easy game but I'm going for a 2-1 win to the Swans. You've got to back your team haven't you!
I hope all the Luton fans who are travelling down to the Swansea.com have a brilliant time.
With thanks to Amy Clement (@amyclement94). For more, check out the excellent work of Her Game Too (@HerGameToo).