Lee Trundle column: Swansea City must overcome Sam Allardyce factor
SWANSEA City will come up against an extremely forward-thinking manager tomorrow when Sam Allardyce brings West Ham to the Liberty.
Big Sam was something of a pioneer at Bolton, bringing in a lot of the sports science and analysis technologies that most clubs use today.
I know some old school players are a bit sceptical about all the stats and number crunching that goes into the modern game, but I think anything that helps your game is a bonus.
These days if a player is going through a bad scoring run, he can get a breakdown of all the positions he takes up on the pitch.
And that could highlight the fact he's not attacking the back post enough, or something like that.
It is possible to identify something a player hadn't realised on their own that might make a major difference to their game.
When I first arrived at Swansea in 2003 we had two physios. And they did everything from treating injuries to giving massages and conducting fitness tests.
Now, partly because the game has modernised and partly because Swansea are playing at a higher level, there is a whole raft of people working behind the scenes at the Liberty.
There are dietitians, nutritionists, masseurs, performance analysts and more.
Just about every aspect of a player's game is monitored to an incredible degree to paint a detailed picture of their performance and what can be improved.
The one thing we haven't got at Swansea — which I believe Allardyce was very keen on — is a sports psychologist.
I have to admit that sports psychologists are not really for me.
At other clubs I have used them in the past, but they've never been a major benefit because I'm a positive person anyway so don't need any help to think like that.
There are others, though, who find them really useful, and as far as I'm concerned if something helps one or two people at a club it's worth having it around.
I regret to say that it was only really after I left Swansea that I became super professional in how I looked after myself.
You only have to take a look at old photos of me to see how much bigger I was.
When we had fat percentage tests I would regularly come out with one of the highest numbers, but I was scoring goals every week so I didn't think it was a problem.
It was only when I moved to Bristol City and was struggling to get in the team that I felt I had to address the issue.
That didn't have anything to do with there being a different approach to conditioning at Ashton Gate, it was something I decided to do myself.
And I wish I had taken my diet more seriously and looked after myself sooner because it would have made me a better player and I might have achieved more at Swansea.
But it's not something I lose too much sleep over because I have plenty of great memories about my time with the club.
In contrast to Big Sam's considered off-field approach, his teams often tend to be more about strength than subtlety.
Bolton had a reputation as a physical team who played a direct style and I don't think West Ham are too different.
Sides like that have caused Swansea trouble in the past because, as everyone knows, we're not the biggest.
But the lads just need to keep passing — if they do that I don't think West Ham will be able to live with them.
In the past, Swansea have sometimes struggled to cope with big powerful centre-forwards.
That's why I was delighted to hear that Andy Carroll will not play tomorrow.
Not that I have anything against the lad. I hope he gets back from injury as soon as possible. I mean it as a compliment in that it's good news for Swansea.
Andy had a rough time at Liverpool due to the size of his transfer fee.
It's not his fault that Kenny Dalglish paid £35 million for him, but because of that people expected a superhuman player.
Andy is a class striker who has a lot of great attributes.
I'm confident he'll go on to prove his quality in the future.