October 2008 Archives
NEW Swansea City recruit Dimitrios Konstantopoulos is ready to step into the firing line when Roberto Martinez's side tackle Wolves tonight.
The 6ft 4in goalkeeper was left on the bench as Swansea eased past Southampton on Saturday after completing a last-minute loan move from Coventry City.
But now Konstantopoulos is hoping Martinez opts for him ahead of Artur Krysiak despite the fact the teenage Pole kept a clean sheet against the Saints.
Martinez, as ever, is keeping his cards close to his chest over who will start in goal.
But he may be tempted to call on Konstantopoulos for tonight's evening's tricky trip to Molineux because of his greater experience.
"I'll be looking to play against Wolves," Konstantopoulos said.
"I have come here to try to get back in action and play a few games.
"But of course, it's up to the manager. You can understand why he went for Artur on Saturday because I hadn't even spoken to any of the other players.
"It's difficult to come in and play when that's the case, especially as a keeper because you need to have good communication with your back four.
"But I have to show the manager that I am ready and hope he puts me in."
A first-team regular and fans' favourite at Hartlepool, Konstantopoulos stepped up a division to Coventry when Iain Dowie landed him on a Bosman free transfer in the summer of 2007.
Life at the Ricoh Arena began reasonably enough for the 29-year-old Greek but, after 23 appearances, he lost his place when Chris Coleman took charge of the Sky Blues.
His chances of regaining the No. 1 jersey took another jolt when Swansea-born Coleman splashed out ÃÂ£750,000 on Carlisle stopper Keiren Westwood over the summer.
"The manager changed and I didn't get many chances," added Konstantopoulos.
"We have a new keeper this season and it's great for me to come to a really good club like Swansea."
Signed initially for a month, Konstantopoulos may well be asked to extend his temporary stay with Dorus de Vries out for around six weeks.
And given that Krysiak's loan from Birmingham comes to an end in December, it is not inconceivable that the former Greek Under-21 international could be offered the chance to stay at Swansea in the long term.
Would he be keen?
"It's too early to say," says Konstantopoulos.
"We will see how things go in the next couple of weeks.
"I haven't had any discussions about that and for the moment it's about me trying to help the team and, hopefully, benefiting at the same time.
"I would say that in the short period of time I have been here, everything has been positive.
"But we will have to think about possibly staying on later."
Konstantopoulos accepts that he is anything but a shoo-in for the Wolves game given that Krysiak marked his Swansea debut with a shut-out.
It should be pointed out, though, that the youngster did not have the busiest shift on his Championship bow against a toothless Southampton side.
Martinez's dilemma is whether to give the callow Krysiak another opportunity in what is likely to be a much more demanding fixture, or go for his more seasoned option.
Konstantopoulos was quick to pay tribute to Krysiak after watching his tidy display against the Saints, saying: "Maybe he didn't have that much to do, but what he did he did very well.
"He looked calm and the clean sheet will have done a lot of good for his confidence.
"I think Saturday was a huge experience for him."
Krysiak was not the only man in Swansea colours who impressed the latest addition to their increasingly cosmopolitan squad.
"Swansea played some very good football," reckons Konstantopoulos.
"They tried to get the ball down all the time and to play it out wide which makes them attractive to watch.
"Not only that, it's successful too, because they scored three goals.
"I saw them a few times in League One last season. The manager has his mentality and the players have obviously responded to that.
"They played good football last year and, as they are showing, that style can get you results whoever you're up against."
As proved just over three weeks ago against Wolves.
Mick McCarthy's team were outplayed in a 3-1 defeat at the Liberty Stadium, but they are likely to prove a different proposition with a couple of key players back in action on home soil tonight.
Still, Konstantopoulos reckons Swansea can get another positive result against one of the Championship's big guns.
"It's going to be difficult because Wolves are especially good at home," he says.
"But from what I have seen of Swansea, they have nothing to fear in this division.
"More performances like the one against Southampton and they will have no problems."
THERE'S no getting away from it, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake was off-side when he scored the winner for Wolves on Saturday.
Referee Steve Bennett's explanation that the striker's momentum had taken him off the pitch and therefore he didn't have to ask permission to go back on doesn't address the salient question, which was whether he was then off-side or not.
The fact is that when he re-entered the field of play, or sneaked back on to be more accurate, he was off-side, no question, and Mr Bennett and his assistant Ian Gosling, who failed to flag for the offence, got it wrong.
Even the expression on the player's face as he looked, expecting it to be ruled out, spoke volumes.