Preston boss Alex Neil sees similarities between his arrival in England and that of new Swansea manager Graham Potter

Alex Neil sees similarities in Swansea appointing Graham Potter as manager to his own arrival in English football.

Friday, 10th August 2018, 6:00 pm
Updated Monday, 13th August 2018, 11:35 am

Neil and Potter will be in the technical area together when Preston face the Swans at the Liberty Stadium.

Potter made his name as a coach in Sweden, with him guiding Ostersund to three promotions and a place in the Europa League.

Swansea made their move for his services in the summer as they plotted a return to the Premier League after May’s relegation.

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New Swansea City manager Graham Potter

Sweden to South Wales for the Solihull-born Potter might not be the norm but Neil sees it as a good fit.

Neil said: “ I was probably an unorthodox one as well if that is how Graham’s path is going to be described.

“Going from Hamilton to Norwich I think pretty much surprised people at the time.

“I think it shows that if you can do the job, it doesn’t really matter where you are from.

Swansea City's Jefferson Montero battles for the ball with Sheffield United's Leon Clarke last weekend

“It is like getting a good player.

“If someone offered me a good player regardless of his route getting there, it wouldn’t affect my decision in taking him.

“The important thing is that he is good at what he does and knows what he is doing.”

Swansea’s relegation came after seven seasons in the top flight, West Bromwich and Stoke also taking the tumble after lengthy stays.

The change of manager with Potter replacing Carlos Carvalhal, is something which Neil thinks can help shake off the negativity of relegation.

Carvalhal was only in post for six months, having taken over from Paul Clement.

“When you get relegated there are consequences,” said Neil. “The atmosphere around the place needs revitalising very quickly.

“Getting a team winning rather than losing all the time can be tough.

“A new manager coming in gives them that fresh start.

“There aren’t over-hanging relationships or over-hanging fallings-out.

“When you get relegated, whether you like it or not, there are going to be fractures in there.”

Swansea kicked-off life back in the Championship with a 2-1 victory at Sheffield United last Saturday.

After falling behind in the Bramall Lane clash, goals from Oli McBurnie and substitute Yan Dhanda turned things in their favour.

Dhanda was signed on a free transfer in the summer from Liverpool.

Neil said: “I watched their game at Sheffield United back and they have got some very good players.

“They keep the ball well and there are some very good technicians in the team.

“It is going to be a tough game but we are very much looking forward to it.”

Last week’s victory over the Blades naturally pleased Potter.

He said: “I was delighted with the result of course and very proud with a lot of aspects of the performance.

“We weren’t perfect of course, but any win in football is hard and it’s nice when the supporters go home happy.

“To turn a result around at a place like that, it shows a lot for the character of the players and their determination.

I’m very pleased for them and very proud of them.”

Potter’s assistant at the Liberty Stadium is Billy Reid, someone Neil knows very well.

Neil was a player under Reid at Hamilton and then succeeded him as manager.

“When the fixtures came out, it just to be Preston in the first home game,” said Reid.

“Alex was my leader on the pitch at Hamilton as he helped bring through the youngsters.

“He was a feisty player but I could tell then that he had the demeanour and the drive to go into management.

“Alex has done very well so far and now he’s impressing with Preston.

“He is a good friend and it will be interesting to battle with Alex on Saturday.”

This is Preston’s first visit to this neck of South Wales for eight years.