Swansea admit to fears as they bid to climb table
SWANSEA admit they are in danger of losing their identity as they try balancing club tradition with their regional commitments.
The Whites host Bridgend tomorrow (2.30pm) in a clash between two struggling clubs in the Ospreys region.
Swansea are bottom of the table with just one win from their nine matches this season, while the Ravens lie three places above them.
It will be curious kind of derby tomorrow. Traditionally, Swansea and Bridgend have not had the most fierce of rivalries but, with the Ravens recently becoming an official Ospreys club, the two sides have become well acquainted.
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Both teams train at the Ospreys' base in Llandarcy and, as they prepare to do battle this weekend, Swansea team manager Ian Hopkins is anxious about his club's current situation.
"We're in danger of losing our identity," he said.
"We need to preserve our traditions as a club and balance that with our commitments with the Ospreys.
"We need to look at this game as Swansea versus Bridgend, not a game between two Ospreys clubs."
Swansea and Bridgend will both be without a large number of their Ospreys players tomorrow, as they will be playing for the region in their LV= Cup tie at Exeter.
The likes of Sam Davies and Tom Habberfield will be notable losses for the two sides, but Hopkins concedes this is one of the realities of being a regional feeder club.
"We're having to rely on our regional players and, when they're not there, we have to find more youngsters," he said.
"It will definitely be a positive in the long term but, at the moment, we are going through a lot of pain.
"We don't have the money that some clubs do. When our experienced players left in the summer, we had to replace them with youngsters.
"We're under no illusions about how much work we have to do. It's a steep learning curve for our new coaching set-up, but we have to persevere."
Swansea have not tasted league victory since the second weekend of the season, and they will be up against a resurgent Bridgend side who have won their last three.
"The fact that Bridgend are now an Ospreys club gives this fixture an extra edge," Hopkins added.
"We train at the same complex and the players all know each other, so there will be a lot of bragging rights on offer.
"We're disappointed with our last few games, but we're looking to kick on now. This is going to be a local derby type of game."
Swansea: N. J. Thomas; TBC, A. Jenkins, B. Roberts, R. Williams; C. Clement, J. Preddy; M. Norman, P. John, I. Williams, S. Kiley (capt), R. Hughes J. McKenna, D. Baker, J. Bija. Reps: A. Littlehales, N. Smith, A. Mason, B. Fox, R. Dudley-Jones, J. Cole, N. Harwood, C. Shelmerdine.