Preston North End boss Alex Neil expecting Swansea City to have a familiar look
The manager has changed, players have come and gone but Swansea will still have a familiar look to Preston boss Alex Neil on Saturday.
It’s Steve Cooper and not Graham Potter in the Liberty Stadium hotseat – Potter left for Brighton in the Premier League this summer after a year in South Wales – while the squad has churned over.
Dan James, Oli McBurnie, Jordan Ayew and Leroy Fer have been the big departures.
The sales of winger James and striker McBurnie brought in £35m – Manchester United and Sheffield United paying out the big bucks.
Despite the summer of change, Neil will brief his PNE side to be ready for the usual approach from Swansea.
They have their passing style, one used for a number of years now under different managers and coaches.
“I have watched their first few games and Swansea are very similar to what they were,” said Neil.
“Personnel has changed in terms of the management team and some on the pitch but I think Swansea are the type of team who have got a philosophy throughout the club that they try to maintain.
“There is not a whole deal of change from what I’ve seen.
“They recruit the manager to follow the same philosophy rather than the manager coming in and setting the philosophy.
“The argument always is if it is having success, why wouldn’t you do that?
“When you aren’t having success though, that is when questions are asked.”
Cooper, recruited from the England youth coaching staff, has made a decent start to his tenure in Wales.
Swansea beat Hull 2-1 on the opening day of the season and came back from Derby last week with a 0-0 draw.
On Tuesday night they saw off Northampton 3-1 but not without a scare.
They trailed 1-0 to the League Two side until the 80th minute before three goals in eight minutes swung the tie their way.
Andre Ayew came off the bench to score twice and that double could earn him a start against North End.
But Ayew could still leave the club before the close of the European transfer window at the end of the month.
He spent last season on loan with Fenerbahce and his big wages are the legacy of the Swans’ time in the Premier League – Ayew arrived from West Ham for £18m.
His brother Jordan left for Crystal Palace last month.
Among Swansea’s recruits this summer is striker Sam Surridge.
The 21-year-old has come on loan from Bournemouth for the season and is a player who was on North End’s radar last year.
That was when Surridge was on loan at Oldham and catching the eye there.
His Swansea debut came from the bench at Derby, with him starting the midweek cup game with Northampton.
Four players have come on loan, Surridge joined by Ben Wilmot from Watford, Basel’s Aldo Kalulu and Newcastle United goalkeeper Freddie Woodman.