The Northern-Irishman suffered defeat last night in the club’s penultimate friendly match before the Championship season at the Swansea.com Stadium going down 2-0 against Bristol Rovers.
Second-half headers from Jevani Browne and John Marquis proving to be enough for the visitors as a youthful Swans side lacked a cutting edge in their performance and were made to pay once again for defensive errors.
To their credit, Joey Barton’s well-drilled League One side gave a good account of themselves and defended bravely against Duff’s more fancied outfit. In truth though the Swans threadbare squad would be exposed in the second half with five under-21 players on the pitch at full time.
It would be food for thought for the ex-Barnsley head-coach who despite the result not going his way could see the positives, but stressed his side will need to add to their squad before his side’s league campaign starts against Birmingham City in ten days time.
“If you take the result aside, I thought we looked a lot cleaner and a lot sharper in our forward play. There were things in the first hour I was pleased with more than I was last week, and it was a pretty positive performance,” said Duff.
“We should have been out of sight with the chances we created. It was good blocking from them and not clinical enough from us.
“As the game goes on, we get really young, and the game becomes a little more disjointed. That’s where the result comes from.
“There are still ten days left and we know we are short on bodies you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work that out. We finished with five under-21 players on the pitch.
“In terms of the people here, they are getting fit, it’s what you need to do. I don’t like losing, but I’m not worried about losing tonight it is about getting them ready for the first game of the season.
“The main thing from my point of view is more minutes into the legs and to try and improve on things we didn’t do on Friday. We learnt quite a lot about the team that they don’t want to do certain things, which is fine. It’s up to us to adapt to that as well.”
Despite limited resources at his disposal, Duff has been impressed with the talent and attitude shown by the youngsters given chances from the Swans academy whilst ongoing work behind the scenes to identify new faces goes on.
“Normally, in pre-season, you start with all of the younger ones, and you cut them down. There’s a few that we didn’t expect to be with us now, but it is a great opportunity for them to play in front of the fans,” explained Duff.
“Many of them have been at the club from a young age. Their attitude has been great, and they are willing to listen. It’s good habits they get from the more senior players like Joe [Allen], Kyle [Naughton], Grimesy [Matt Grimes] and Jay [Fulton] who lead by example in the way they go about their daily habits.
“That is always the positive of pre-season that you do get to look at the younger ones and two or three of them have caught the eye.”
The Swans were once again without the midfield trio of Joe Allen, Liam Walsh and Josh Ginnelly who remain sidelined for the start of the season. There was good news however surrounding Welsh international defender Ben Cabango who was left out as a precaution after sustaining a knock at Oxford on Friday.
“He [Cabango] should train on Thursday that’s not a big one. That’s the only one from last week. We are not in a position where we can lose too many more, so we need to be a little lucky with that,” continued Duff.
“Hopefully, we will have a couple of people in. We will have ten days more work then and also have another game before then [against Reading on Saturday]. I need to see a lot more improvement and then we will be ready for the big one.”
(Lead image: Swansea City FC)
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