Graham Potter heads back to one of his former clubs on Tuesday night hoping the Stoke City faithful have finally forgiven him for missing a header in the Championship play-off semi-finals 22 years ago.
Swansea City manager Potter played more than 50 times over three seasons for Stoke, but left for Southampton two months after Lou Macari’s men lost to Leicester City in the play-offs.
“The miss in the semi-final was a rubbish header at Filbert Street. I’m not sure the supporters have forgiven me for that, and rightly so, because I should have scored,” admitted Potter.
“We drew with them 0-0 there and they beat us 1-0 at home back in 1996. They were fond times and it gets lively under the lights and the fans get behind their team.
“They used to direct some of their abuse at me, mind, but it is a great club. That was at the Victoria Ground, and the Boothen Road end used to let you know what they thought.
“It is great to see how they progressed to become an established Premier League club. They have made known their intent to get back up quickly, so it’s a big test for us.”
Potter won’t mind the home crowd getting on his back once again if it means his side are making life difficult for Gary Rowett’s men. A goalless draw at home to Nottingham Forest last weekend left him with more injury worries and he will have to patch up his team this week for two massive away games at Stoke and Middlesbrough.
Skipper Leroy Fer is out with a groin injury, Tom Carroll is laid off with a hip injury and Bersant Celina will miss tonight’s game after picking up a foot injury against Forest.
Fellow midfielder Jay Fulton will also be missing after his head knock at the weekend.
It means Kyle Naughton is likely to be pressed into emergency action in the midfield once again as Potter patches up a side that is also missing Jefferson Montero and Wilfried Bony up front.
Swansea old boys Ashley Williams and Joe Allen will be out to impress against their old team mates and Potter will be hoping Rowett’s new signing, former Brentford player Ryan Woods, doesn’t come back to haunt him.
He was Potter’s top target in the summer, but the board baulked at playing £6.5m for him. With Middlesbrough to come at the weekend it looks like being the toughest week yet in Potter’s brief spell in charge at Swansea.
“I can see a positive way forward, although I think we can be more competitive. I’ve been honest enough to say we can improve,” he added.
“The challenge was always to be competitive and we have done that. We can also improve the situation and the league itself, with games coming thick and fast, means it’s not like a nice easy process where you can go ‘game, reflect, work, game, reflect, work’.
“It’s a bit more chaotic than that. In the short term, while you’re thinking about goal setting and not blocks, you only think about the next game. We think about Stoke now and try and be as competitive as we can and win.”
Swansea City (probable): Mulder; Roberts, Van der Hoorn, Rodon, Olsson; Naughton, Grimes; McKay, Dhanda, Asoro; McBurnie