Swansea City have been forced to defend their decision to pull the under 21s side out of tonight’s scheduled friendly with Welsh Premier League side Haverfordwest.
The Swans have traditionally sent a youthful but strong team to the Conygar Bridge Meadow Stadium each season, a fixture that tends to be the subject of much interest amongst Pembrokeshire-based supporters of the South Wales club.
Indeed, the area is home to the ‘Pembrokeshire Jacks’ group, who provided bus trips to the Liberty Stadium for every Swansea home game.
But the Swans withdrew from tonight’s game citing injuries and unavailability – prompting much criticism as many disappointed supporters took to social media to voice their discontent.
Haverfordwest County chairman David Hughes said: “It is annoying that all the hard work which goes into hurriedly arranging a fixture of this sort is not acknowledged when a decision like this is made.
“It was Swansea City who contacted me late last Thursday asking for this game to be arranged. It seems strange that 72 hours later their lack of human resources causes the game to be cancelled.
“It also appears that the officials responsible for calling off this game have done so with no regard taken to its importance from my club’s perspective and also that of the local Swansea City fans.”
Hughes, whose club celebrated promotion back to the top flight of Welsh football last season, added he felt Swansea’s decision was an unprofessional one.
However, in a released statement, the Premiership club defended the move.
“The game was hastily arranged on Thursday and cancelled on Sunday.”
“Unfortunately, a number of under-21 players are required to supplement the first-team training programme this week, while a few returned from the pre-season tour to Holland carrying injuries.”
Indeed, the development squad recently returned from a six day training camp in the Netherlands, where they played three friendly matches as part of their preparation for the 2015/16 campaign.
“The club would normally supplement with players from the under-18s, but they are currently away training in Prague.
“The club have apologised profusely to Haverfordwest and offered to rearrange the game for later in the season to fit in around their fixtures.
“We took a team to Haverfordwest last season for a friendly and the club remains committed to assisting our local football fraternity wherever and whenever possible.”
So despite their disappointment, it appears Pembrokeshire fans will still get the opportunity to watch Swansea’s best young talent this season – albeit at a later date in the season.