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Daniel James Can Survive Trial By Livid Leeds Fans, Says Swans Pal

George Byers has no doubts the same rapid footwork that takes Daniel James away from defenders will enable him to dodge any bullets at Leeds United this week.

There are some Leeds fans who believes James should have done more to agitate and angle for his proposed move from Swansea City before it collapsed at the 11th hour on deadline day.

The Wales winger sat in a room at Elland Road, waiting for a phone call to green light his £5m move. Instead, the call never came as former chairman Huw Jenkins made the last significant decision of his 17-year tenure which was to pull the plug on the transfer.

James eventually got back in a car and headed back down the M1.

Byers – another youngster who has come through into the Swans first team at the same time as James – believes there will be some Yorkshire fans on Wednesday night who will try to put James off his stride.

The former Watford youth player – whose first goal for the Swans was enough to beat Millwall at the weekend – reckons his mate can cope, though.

“Dan’s a player who can often get stick from other fans because he is so effective in games and just so fast,” said Byers.

“They will probably do everything they can to get in his head, but he’s a strong lad and I’m sure he’ll deal with it.

“You get a bit of grief in every game you go into. It doesn’t matter if it’s Leeds or whoever. You expect that as a footballer. But it’s about staying strong and concentrating on the game.

“Dan is a confident lad and we love having him in the team. He gives us something different because he’s so fast. He’s different gravy.

“He has been excellent since he came back in. It’s been a tough time for him, but I thought he did really well for the team. He could have had a couple of goals.”

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Byers’ explosive first-half goal keeps the Swans just six points off the play-off places in their first home game since Jenkins quit as chairman in what has been a chaotic few weeks at the Liberty Stadium.

His departure followed the exit of three players on deadline day as well as bungled deals to flog James and Leroy Fer to Aston Villa.

But Byers insists: “As players, we have to show professionalism and that means coming in every day and giving our all. Whatever happens off the pitch is not down to us. We are focused and we know what we have to do to win games.

“We are a good squad and everyone gets on with each other. Even after last week’s defeat to Bristol City, we picked ourselves up and got on with it.

“The dressing room is very together. There are no bad vibes – nothing like that.”

The Swans should have beaten Leeds at home back in August, but were pegged back for a 2-2 draw after Oli McBurnie had scored twice.

Since then, Marcelo Bielsa’s side have hit the top of the Championship and despite Norwich displacing them they are still many people’s top tip to win automatic promotion.

But there is a big incentive for Byers and his teammates to cause an upset, with the gap between themselves and the play-off places just six points with 15 matches still to go.

We can definitely win up there,” adds Byers. “We will know exactly what we need to do to beat them. We’ll be ready.

“Oli scored two goals against them here, so he’ll be up for this game again and want to score more.

“It’s 100 per cent possible we can get back in the play-offs. All it takes is a few wins and others to slip up and we will be back in there.”


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