John Swift | Squad availability & competition for places so crucial

John Swift in the home kit during a match at The Hawthorns

John Swift believes player availability and competition for places will have a huge impact on Albion’s bid to enjoy a successful end to the 2023/24 campaign.

The Baggies, who’ve had to contend with several injuries throughout the season, are hunting down a spot inside the top six of the Sky Bet Championship and a shot at promotion to the Premier League.

Swift himself had a spell on the sidelines earlier on this term, missing around six weeks of action with a calf strain between October and November.

Carlos Corberán now has a number of options to choose from when it comes to selecting a starting XI, and Swift insists that’s crucial for a whole host of reasons.

The back of John Swift during a game at The Hawthorns with his name and number 19 showing

The No.19 said: “We all want the team to be as strong as possible.

“Everyone knows the ultimate goal is to make it to the play-offs and get promoted to the Premier League. The more players we have available, the more chance there is of that happening.

“The more players we have available, the better the standard of the training will be each and every day too. It pushes everyone on to try and get their spot in the starting XI.

“A few months ago it was a lot easier to get into the starting team because of all the injuries we had.

John Swift in action for Albion wearing the navy-blue-and-red away kit

“With that though comes fatigue and maybe a couple of performances where you’re not at your best, but you’ll still play because of the lack of availability.

“Now though, if you’re not performing then someone else is waiting on the side to help the team and that’s the best thing for the squad.

“The stronger the squad, the more chance we’ve got of getting to the play-offs.

“Hopefully everyone still out injured can be back as quickly as possible to help us.

John Swift in his Albion coat at a stadium before a match

“It’s a supportive group and a tight group. Whoever isn’t selected to play, nobody sulks. There’s only ever encouragement for the lads on the pitch at any given time.

“This spell for me, being on the bench for a few games, it’s the first time I’ve done it for a long time, but it’s the first time I’ve done it in a team which is pushing for promotion.

“You have to be ready when you get the chance and you have to support the players who are playing. The way the lads are playing at the moment, there can’t really be too many arguments. We’re winning games and that’s the most important thing.

“Everyone who is on the bench or maybe not even in the squad, all of those lads are training well and pushing the lads who are starting at the moment.”

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