LEE TRUNDLE COLUMN: Swansea need to be wary of new manager effect
SWANSEA City need to be careful against Sunderland because a new manager sometimes has an immediate, often dramatic impact.
That is not just one of those football sayings — it is what happens.
The reason is quite simple. Suddenly everyone has a clean slate.
After a while at a club a pecking order is established.
There are those players the manager likes, they tend to be in the team, and there are others he doesn't who are often left out.
Then, when a change comes, that order is upset. Overnight no-one knows where they stand.
Players that were previously regulars need to prove they deserve to keep hold of the shirt, often despite the poor run of results that led to the change in boss.
And those out in the cold see an opportunity to force their way into the first team frame.
Everything is up for grabs and everyone raises their game.
Swansea will face a team with that kind of internal competition today when Sunderland visit the Liberty.
It is Gus Poyet's first game in charge after he replaced Paulo Di Canio.
And in this case, Sunderland might be even more determined than another team in the same position.
That's because the squad seems to have played a big part in having Di Canio removed.
If reports are to be believed, it was a pretty unhappy dressing room under the Italian and senior players approached the Sunderland hierarchy asking for a change.
Assuming that's correct, those players got what they wanted so are under pressure to prove it was the right move.
They have to show that he was the problem and not them.
With such factors affecting the game, Sunderland's form — they have taken just one point from their first seven Premier League games — is less important than normal.
Swansea's task has also not been helped by the fact Steven Fletcher looks likely to recover from a shoulder injury in time to lead the Sunderland line.
He proved what a quality striker he is at the Liberty last season, scoring two goals on his Black Cats debut.
Fletcher is a goalscorer, an all round striker who is dangerous in the air and with the ball at his feet.
He is strong, skilful and a finisher so Swansea will have to pay extra close attention to him.
Poyet was an excellent player and has already proved his ability as a manager at Brighton.
They are a side that have developed a very similar style to Swansea, meaning this afternoon's match could be one for football purists.
But whatever philosophy the Uruguayan adopts at Sunderland should be irrelevant.
Swansea have already proved they can cope with whatever teams throw at them, whether that's a barrage of long balls or patient passing.
The important thing is how the home side perform.
Ashley Williams will again be missing which is a blow because everyone knows how important he is to the side.
I was talking to Ash before the St Gallen game a couple of weeks ago and he was hoping to be back soon after that.
His ankle injury is taking longer than expected to settle down, which I know is causing him a lot of frustration.
But it's better to make sure the injury is totally sorted before he returns.
And Swansea have such squad strength this year they can certainly cope in his absence.