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Swansea V Hull at Liberty Stadium : Match Preview

08 Dec 2013 15:01:00

Swansea V Hull at Liberty Stadium : Match Preview

Swansea V Hull - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Britton recalls pivotal clash

Leon Britton believes Swansea and Hull will always be united by a special bond as they prepare to meet for the first time in the Barclays Premier League on Monday.


A fixture against the Tigers back in May 2003 played a huge part in shaping the last decade of Swansea's history.


The Welsh club were on the brink of being relegated out of the Football League, and such an outcome would have made financial oblivion a real possibility.


But a James Thomas hat-trick gave Swansea a 4-2 win; a decade later they are a Premier League club and last season secured their first major silverware in the form of the Capital One Cup.


The sides have met since that day at Swansea's old Vetch Field home, but Britton, who played in the critical fixture, admits Monday's game will be that little more special.


He said: "We've played Hull a few times over the years, but every time it evokes the memories of that day because it's arguably the biggest and most important game in Swansea's history.


"We'll always have a special rapport with Hull because of that game. It will make Monday that much more special.


"It will be a great day for both clubs. Considering that game in 2003 and the fact 10 years ago we were both fighting in the bottom division, it's brilliant that both of us are playing in the Premier League on Monday night. It will be a special night.


"Anything is possible in football as long as you have the right people behind you. Swansea have had the right board, made the right decisions and had good players along the way. It shows you don't have to whack a lot of money into a football club to achieve success. We've done it in a different way."


And Britton has acknowledged that, while there is always pressure in the Premier League, this time round he will feel a lot more relaxed than when he stepped out onto the field back in 2003.


"I just remember the build-up to the game and how anxious everyone was," he said.


"But we had a dream start, went 1-0 up and the crowd was bouncing. Yet within 15-20 minutes we were 2-1 down and the atmosphere changed completely. You could hear a pin drop.


"That day was a range of emotions. The over-riding one was of relief when we got to 4-2 and the referee blew the final whistle.


"But the Premier League is a completely different pressure. Back then, you were talking about people paying for mortgages, players with families and no one knew what was going to happen."


Hull manager Steve Bruce is hoping a return to familiar surroundings can help misfiring striker Danny Graham rediscover the goalscoring touch.


Graham's drought is becoming a frustrating sub-plot for Bruce on what has been an otherwise impressive return to the Premier League for the Tigers.


The on-loan Sunderland forward has made 13 appearances without finding the net this season, but his lean patch goes back much further than that numbering 30 games for three different clubs since he struck for Swansea in a 2-0 league cup win over Chelsea.


The 28-year-old has impressed at times with his leading of the line and hold up play, but has lost composure on a number of occasions after getting into promising positions.


Bruce hopes a return to face his former employers can bring out the best in Graham.


"I keep getting the same thing thrown at me about Danny and he's got to see it through like any other striker," he said.


"Could Swansea be the one that turns him around? We have to wait and see, but you never know.


"We saw something like that the other night when we played Arsenal. Nicklas Bendtner hadn't scored for them for two years, we'd tried a little bit to get him in the summer, I've signed him twice in the past...did Arsene Wenger do it on purpose?


"If he did he's a better genius than I thought he was.


"But all strikers go through it. No matter how good you are, there comes a time in your career when go you go through a lean pitch.


"One thing you've got to do is knuckle down and try not to lose confidence."


If Graham's barren streak does persist, Bruce is close to giving Matty Fryatt his chance in the Premier League.


Fryatt managed only five appearances last season due to an Achilles injury and was sent on loan to Sheffield Wednesday early in the current campaign, but he is back now and eager to push his claims.



PA

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