Celtic star reveals Martin talks
Celtic star Matt O’Riley says he remains in contact with Russell Martin who he describes as a “massive follower” of his career.
Swans boss Martin played a huge role in the midfielder’s development at MK Dons and was eager to sign him for Swansea in January, although the club’s owners opted against sanctioning a deal.
O’Riley was ultimately sold to Celtic for £1.5m, and the Dane has excelled during his time in Scotland so far. And he has thanked former Rangers man Martin for the role he played in his rise up the ranks.
“I felt I was in a good place with my technical development when I was at Fulham,” O’Riley told The Herald. “I spoke to Scott Parker a lot when I was there. But Russell Martin is the one who I am still in contact with the most.
“He was a big influence on me at MK. He’s the first manager to really understand me as a player and more importantly as a person. I’m very fortunate I’m in the same situation here with the manager.
“Russell is happy for me. He tries to tune in to all the games, even though he’s a manager at Swansea.
“He loves watching and he’s a massive follower of my journey. Have I turned him in to a follower of Celtic? I don’t want to get him any stick as a former Rangers player! But we have a good relationship.”
Young guns can thrive at SA1
Russell Martin believes Swansea is the perfect club for young players at present as he bids to accelerate the development of those in the early stages of their professional careers.
Swansea handed Fin Stevens, Armstrong Oko-Flex and Luke Cundle – who are all aged 20 or under – their club debuts in the 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers last time out to make what was an already youthful side even younger.
And Martin is confident that his young guns can deliver the goods when given opportunities to do to this season. “We have to get behind these young men and try and help them get there quickly,” he told the club website.
“We want to accelerate the development of the people we have in the building. We will get behind people that want to be here and work so hard to bring this club the success they want. We have a group that reflects that and buys into that.
“We have young men who are living these moments for the first time, the same as some of them were last season, but we are going to get there and we will help them get there. They want to get there.
“So, everyone has a choice, this is the situation we are in. I am in charge of the team, it is my responsibility. But the players will grow and come together and be stronger.
“I think you could see in how the players really dug in and showed such character against QPR that they are so desperate to do well for this club.
“We had a lot of young men out there, especially at the end, but we know from working with them day to day the talent they have, and what they are like as people.”
Birmingham injury update
Birmingham City will be without several players for the Championship clash with Swansea this weekend.
Nico Gordon, Harlee Dean and George Friend are all unavailable for John Eustace’s side. Gary Gardner is also set to miss out after suffering a calf injury during his side’s clash with Norwich City.
Elsewhere, Przemyslaw Placheta is out for around a month due to a shin issue. Kick-off between the Blues and the Swans is at 3pm on Saturday.