This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Player view’ series, this content strand is where we put ourselves in the shoes of a given player, and offer an opinion-based outlook on the perspective on the situation at hand…
Swansea City defender Jake Bidwell is set to miss three matches following an unsuccessful appeal over the red card he was shown against Bristol City at Ashton Gate.
Bidwell was dismissed during the final stages of the goalless draw on Saturday afternoon for a challenge on Bristol City’s Niclas Eliasson, which referee Tony Harrington deemed to be a red-card offence.
Speaking to the club website after the game, Swansea boss Steve Cooper labelled it as a “weak decision” by the referee and the Welsh club subsequently decided to launch an appeal against the call.
However, the Football Association have decided to uphold the red card and Bidwell will now miss matches against Watford, Reading and Charlton Athletic following his solid start to the season in Swansea’s left-back slot.
This all means that Cooper will now be assessing his defensive options ahead of the upcoming matches, as he must decide how to negotiate these games in Bidwell’s absence.
He could firstly opt for experienced defender Kyle Naughton who has primarily functioned as a right-back for much of his career, but did replace Bidwell at left-back during Swansea’s victory over Birmingham City back in August.
Naughton has been a reliable servant for Swansea since his arrival at the club in 2015 and would be a solid choice to fill the role, but Cooper could also elect to play Declan John in his favoured left-back position.
The 24-year-old has failed to truly establish himself at the Liberty Stadium since making the move from Rangers last summer, as he was kept out of the side by Martin Olsson and then Naughton before Bidwell’s arrival this season.
John has played every minute of Swansea’s Carabao Cup campaign so far this season, but he is yet to be included in one of Cooper’s match-day squads in the Championship during the club’s strong start to the campaign.
The Welshman has proved himself to be an exciting option for Swansea to have on the left flank during his Carabao Cup appearances with the lively presence he can offer going forward, albeit if the defensive side of his game is not quite as strong.
He will desperate for a chance in this Swansea side in Bidwell’s absence, and if Cooper gives him the nod then he must seize this rare opportunity with both hands. Swansea have only suffered one defeat this season which means the side are likely to be high on confidence, and it could be the perfect environment for John to show his true abilities.
Bidwell has provided a solid if not spectacular presence on the left flank so far this season, which means a run of positive performances from John could also lead to him picking up more minutes in the future.
This suspension could well offer the big break that John has been waiting for.