Reeves: City will prove tough test

Norwich City's first £1m export believes newly-promoted Swansea City are well equipped to stay on the heels of the Championship's leading pack - and he is well placed to judge.

Norwich City's first £1m export believes newly-promoted Swansea City are well equipped to stay on the heels of the Championship's leading pack - and he is well placed to judge.

Former City striker Kevin Reeves is chief scout for the Swans, who visit Carrow Road for the first time in 10 years on Saturday.

The cosmopolitan squad assembled by Roberto Martinez, with no little assistance from 51-year-old Reeves, has taken last season's League One champions into ninth place in the table, just one point adrift of South Wales rivals Cardiff, who currently occupy the final play-off spot.

Swansea have been beaten just once in their last eight league games as they prepare to face the Canaries, though they suffered a Carling Cup fourth round exit at the hands of caretaker boss Malky Mackay's Watford on Tuesday night, their first home defeat of the season.

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“We are pleased with the way things have gone so far after coming up from the league below,” said Reeves, two years into his second spell with the Welsh club after a previous stint as former manager Brian Flynn's number two.

“The Championship is a tough league with some fantastic teams but we have held our own in the league in every game except when we played at Reading, but they are a very good side and they beat us 4-0.

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“The first priority when you're promoted is to stay in the league, that's the key thing, but then you set yourself different targets over the year. We are on the fringes of the play-offs and we'd love to stay there.”

With Martinez in charge, Swansea have six Spanish players in their squad, but there are also two Dutchmen and players from Poland, Greece, Argentina and Trinidad.

Reeves is constantly on the move in his search for new talent.

“My job is all about recruiting players,” he said. “I have a couple of really good scouts who do match assessments on the opposition, which frees me up to bring players to the club.

“We have recruited from quite a few countries in Europe. With Robbie being Spanish that's a big area for us. He also likes Dutch players so we have a couple of them in the squad, and Scotland and Ireland are places I tend to go more than anywhere else.

“There are one or two players from other countries, but that's more through contacts than me watching them.”

Reeves said the Swansea squad had adapted well to the demands of a higher division.

He said: “The majority have stepped up to it really well, the players are comfortable on the ball, and we know they're capable of playing Championship football.

“We have a strong midfield which has been fairly steady with Britton, Bodde, Pratley and Gomez, Garry Monk has been excellent as captain, and Jason Scotland up front. Everyone has played his part.

“But Ferrie Bodde has scored some great goals so he's one who has probably taken the eye individually more than anyone else.”

Reeves, who joined City from Bournemouth for £50,000 in 1977 after an initial loan spell, scored 42 goals in 133 games before his ground-breaking £1m move to Manchester City in 1980. He followed manager John Bond yet again to Burnley, but was forced to retire at 26 because of an arthritic hip.

He won the first of his two full England caps during his time at Norwich - but scouting duties mean he will not be back on Saturday.

“I won't be there because I'll be watching a game somewhere else,” he said.

“I loved it there, it was a lovely club. It was a fantastic period for me, I had a good relationship with the supporters, we played a good style of football and it was a good three years.

“I haven't been to Norwich for a little while but I've seen some of their away games.

“It's a good squad, I know all the players, quite a few of the loan players I have looked at over the seasons.

“There are some very good players at the club and this is a real test for us.

“The fan base is fantastic with anything from 22,000 to 25,000 at every game, they try to play the right way and pass the ball around.

“I am surprised to see them in the bottom six. I expected them to kick on this season but it's still early. It's only a matter of time but, as they always say, as long it's after the weekend.”

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