Brighton & Hove Albion boss Graham Potter believes young manager Russell Martin will guide Championship side Swansea City back to the Premier League, speaking to Sussex Live ahead of tomorrow evening’s Carabao Cup clash.
Potter was given his first managerial gig in the UK by Swansea in 2018 after impressing in the Europa League with Swedish side Ostersunds, before leaving the following summer to join the Seagulls.
In his only season at the Swansea.com Stadium, he finished 10th with the Swans but did enough to earn a move to the Premier League after the departure of Chris Hughton.
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Since then, he has helped to secure the south-coast side’s place in the Premier League, although the second-tier side haven’t fared too badly either considering the high-profile sales officials in South Wales have sanctioned in recent years.
Under Potter’s successor Steve Cooper, the Welsh side managed to achieve successive top-six finishes under the 41-year-old and came within 90 minutes of securing their return back to the Premier League, but eventually lost out to Brentford at Wembley after a quickfire first-half double from the Bees.
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It looked as though the Welshman would lead his side into his third season at the club, but after departing at the end of July, Russell Martin was appointed at the Swansea.com Stadium with the 35-year-old impressing at MK Dons in the previous two seasons.
Martin has endured a tough start to life in the Championship, winning just one of his first eight league games. But former Swans boss Potter sees potential in the young manager and speaking ahead of tomorrow night’s tie with his former club, he said: “It’s a period of transition. Russell [Martin] has done really well and I think it’s a fantastic appointment for Swansea, I really do.
“He provides real clarity, real integrity, an idea that people can get behind. I think it’s the early stages of what they want to do.
“I certainly know for myself that it’s not always perfect at the start in terms of performances and results, but you can clearly see what they’re trying to do and where they want to go and they’re very impressive in that.
“With the right support, patience and time, Swansea City will be back in the Premier League with Russell, because I think there’s huge potential there.”
This is very high praise indeed, but after adapting so well to management and providing MK Dons with a real identity during his time there, he should be commended in this way.
He may have endured a difficult beginning to his time in South Wales – but the ingredients and players are there to achieve a respectable finish this term and if they climb their way up the table slightly, it will give them a platform to build on for the future.
Most Swansea fans knew this was going to be a rebuilding phase with a young manager and the loss of star man Andre Ayew on the expiration of his contract in the summer, so there should be patience behind the scenes as the 35-year-old gets to grips with life at Swansea.
You can only allow things to go so far, so a change should be made if they find themselves in deep trouble in the next few months considering they still have some very useful players including Matt Grimes at their disposal, but they are only likely to improve with more time under their reasonably new boss.
Investment will be key if they want to get back to the Premier League though. They have sold plenty of players in recent seasons – now is the time for them to reinvest more of those funds whilst ensuring they stay well within EFL profit and sustainability rules.