Jake Bidwell still believes Swansea City can launch a late surge into the play-offs to give their fans something to bask in after a miserable summer.
The Swans defender insists today’s (Sun) home game with Sheffield Wednesday can prove a launch pad to repeat their early season form in which they won five and drew one of their first half dozen matches.
That, says Bidwell, would lift the mood after figures showed Wales has suffered the highest rise in business collapses in the UK since March.
Swans fans can’t even get a drink in a pub garden this weekend as lockdown rules differ from England and Bidwell admits: “There are hard times coming for people.
“From a footballer’s point of view you have to remind yourself you are representing those people. In Swansea, we are one team representing the city and for some people, us winning a game could be the highlight of their week right now.
“That’s a responsibility we need to take on our shoulders. Lots of people in different walks of life are going through difficult times.
“If we can put a smile on their faces once or twice a week now, then that’s a big part of our role.”
Swansea will need something spectacular to reach sixth place after an inconsistent re-start which has seen them beat Middlesbrough, lose to bottom club Luton, and draw at Millwall.
Wednesday, managed by former Swans boss Garry Monk, are going nowhere in mid-table and Bidwell concedes: “We obviously need to start picking up lots of wins.
“If we can replicate the form we had at the start of the season, then I’m pretty sure we would make the top six. We need to go full throttle.”
“The gaffer will have a game plan for Sheffield Wednesday, we’ll analyse them in depth, and be ready to go on Sunday.
“Luton was really disappointing, but Millwall was an improvement. A lot of teams crumble there when they go behind, but we dug in and got level.
“We wanted the win and went for it, but the table didn’t work out too badly and I still think we’re right in the mix.
Football without crowds may be sending some TV fans to sleep and the former Brentford and QPR man admits players are dozing more easily, too.
“You really notice the difference after playing in a game. Normally, after a night match, it’s hard to sleep because you are still buzzing and full of adrenalin.
“Most footballers are the same. You find it hard to get to sleep until two or three in the morning because everything is still running through you.
“But after the Millwall game, I went to bed around midnight and I fell asleep straight away, which never normally happens. Other players have said the same thing.
“The atmosphere reminds me of playing youth team and reserve teams games, when you are playing in stadia but there’s no crowds.
“When I was at Everton we would play reserve games at Widnes rugby ground with no-one there. It reminds me of those days.”
Bidwell joined the Swansea a year ago this week, so a victory over Wednesday backed up by another at Birmingham City in midweek would be the perfect anniversary present for the player who says the Swans differ from his old London clubs in one major regard.
“I’ve noticed a difference in being at Swansea over the past year – it’s not the same as playing for a club in London.
“The huge majority of people here are Swans fans. That’s the only team and so everyone wants you to do well and I get stopped when I’m walking the dog by people who want to talk and wish you well.
“You don’t really have that feel in London. It’s not the same.
“I’ve really grown into it as the season has gone. I’ve got to grips with a new squad and a new manager and I’ve really enjoyed it.
“With six games to go, it is still in our own hands and anything is possible. It would be a great first season managing in senior football if Steve Cooper gets a team into the play-offs.”