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FA Cup Q&A: Everton vs. Swansea City

Richard Heathcote

Ahead of Sunday's tie, we had a chat with Steven Carroll of SOS Fanzine about their season, their change in the dug out and their aspirations in the cup.

RBM: I think it is fair to say Swansea are going through a transitional period after the sacking of Michael Laudrup. Was the sacking correct?

SC: I personally wouldn't have sacked him but if the board felt he had to go then I back them 100% because they only have the club's best interests at heart. I think there's more to it than most of us know, results and performances have declined this term and it was an open secret that Laudrup would leave in the summer anyway and the awful performance and result along with him jetting off to Paris for a few days proved to be the last straw.

RBM: Garry Monk has been appointed until the end of the season, what's changed and is he the man for the job longer term?

SC: As I eluded to above performances haven't been what we have come to expect this season and Monk has been appointed to try and bring us back to the Swansea Way as it's become known. The early signs are good as the wingers have now returned to being out wide rather than coming inside again which is a positive and obviously the four points from two games are a plus as well. I'm open minded on Monk having it full time and will reserve judgement until the end of the season. My main concern would be though who will sign for Swansea with Garry Monk at the helm but we'll wait and see.

RBM: What were your expectations at the start of the season, and have they changed now?

SC: At the start of the campaign I expected us to finish about 13th and progress to the last 32 of Europe and we've achieved one of these and I'm sure in the Premier League we'll be fine. I guess the expectations I have now are the same but we're a bit lucky to be 10th with such a low points total, in a lot of other campaigns we could well be 16th so I'd like to see more points on the board.

RBM: You guys are still in the Europa League - is this a welcome distraction or would you swap this adventure for another season in the Premier League?

SC: Welcome distraction for me. I've never seen us play in Europe so I've embraced it. I went out to Valencia which for me is the greatest experience I've had following this club and I'll be in Napoli in a couple of weeks as well. The Premier League is of course the priority but I would happily finish lower in the table for a longer European adventure as long as it meant we didn't go down of course.

RBM: Obviously we have one of your old adversaries in Roberto Martinez in charge now. What are the Swansea thoughts and opinions on him?

SC: Martinez started off the way we play now so he's a key man in our history. When he initially left us there was a lot of ill feeling as he once proclaimed "I was kicked out as a player and it'll be the same as manager". A lot of that hurt has subsided now but he's probably not held in as a high esteem as he should be because of this. I think what hurt me more is that he's never come out and apologised for going back on his word. It's a shame really as he was so good for us, I saw some of our greatest moments under him and I used to love how he'd always set up to win the game rather than to not get beaten which was refreshing.

RBM: Did you fully expect Martinez to do what he is doing with Everton, or has he surprised you?

SC: I thought he'd do well, Martinez is very good at getting the best out of players, at Swansea he managed to win the league in his first season and that was with a few players who weren't great but he got them playing for him. It was probably the same at Wigan, on paper their side was very weak but he'd always somehow keep them up and now he's at a club where's there's potential to do damage towards the top of the league he's showing he can do well there too. The only weakness he had with us was defending set pieces but it should be a bit easier for him with the likes of Jagielka and Distin at the back.

RBM: Is the FA Cup a priority for Swansea?

SC: No to be honest. I love the FA Cup it's a great competition and I don't like people devaluing it but with us in two other competitions I have to say that it's not a priority although I of course wouldn't turn down a victory if offered one.

RBM: Can you emulate last season's league cup success in this season's FA Cup?

SC: Unlikely but you never know. I have no idea how seriously Monk will treat this game so it could depend on that. Looking at the draw though whoever wins this game has a good chance purely because the big teams left in have drawn each other.

RBM: Ahead of Sunday's game, who are the players Everton should be looking out for and what shape and patterns of play can we expect from Garry Monk's men?

SC: Wilfried Bony springs to mind he's been great since the turn of the year and Nathan Dyer's done well since returning from injury. Of course there's a chance neither will play but if they do then they're the two to be wary of. I think you can expect us to look to keep the ball and look to create chances from the wide players but Monk may look to experiment a bit more in this game so keep your eyes peeled.

RBM: Finally, give us a prediction for the game.

SC: 1-1 purely because a draw would be a disaster. The replay would be played a week Tuesday in between Liverpool away on Sunday and Napoli away on Thursday as the FA have said it can't be played on quarter final day. So I hope we go all all guns blazing to try and win!