Craig Gardner

Gardner sizes up Swansea

by Stuart Vose

Midfielder previews weekend action.

Craig Gardner says the arrival of Michael Laudrup has given Saturday’s opponents Swansea a real shot in the arm.

The Danish legend arrived at the Liberty Stadium in the summer to replace Brendan Rodgers, who replaced Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool.

The Swans enjoyed an excellent debut season in the Barclays Premier League, finishing 11th, and have started the current campaign in fine form.

Swansea have got off to a flying start

- Craig Gardner

They have scored eight league goals without conceding and lie second in the table behind Chelsea.

Gardner says Sunderland saw the impact a new manager can have when Martin O’Neill arrived last December and says the Welsh outfit are looking good after a number of summer changes on the playing side.

“It's a tough place to go to, they're off to a flying start and they've got a new manager,” he said.

“They keep the ball well and we've just got to go there, organise and hopefully let our qualities win the game for us.

“When you get a new manager you always pick up results, the same when the gaffer came here last year. It wasn't really his team and we still got results. But now it's his team and we know how good the manager is.

“Michael Laudrup has come in and Swansea are in the same boat. He's had time to bring players in and they're a good team. We need to perform and be at our best to get the three points.

“Laudrup was one of the best players. He's shown the experience you get from playing - you take it into management and people are thriving.”

Meanwhile Gardner says the activity during the transfer window has given the club a huge boost.

Carlos Cuellar and Louis Saha have been joined by former Wolves hitman Steven Fletcher, who finished as the Midlands club’s top scorer in each of his two campaigns at Molineux.

And Adam Johnson also returned to the north east, linking up with Martin O’Neill after winning the Barclays Premier League title with Manchester City last season.

“We've got some good players in,” Gardner said. “Louis Saha's come in and he's a top-class player and a top-class person.

“He's experienced, he talks and he tells us things. He's just a pleasure to play with and he's a pleasure to know.

“Carlos Cuellar is exactly the same. I was with him at Aston Villa and he's solid. He showed that at Arsenal where he I thought he was a different class.

“Then you've got Fletch and Johnno. They're all top class players and they've got the t-shirt, they've done it. We need to take those top-class players into a top-class season.”