Tate was one of the players who missed from the spot at the Millennium Stadium 18 months ago as the Swans missed out on promotion in the cruellest of fashions. Like now, the Swans were early pace setters in their division before falling away quite spectacularly after Christmas to only just scrape into the play offs themselves. But that is not a memory that is playing on Tate’s mind as he believes that the squad is much better placed to push on this season.
Having missed most of the season to date – Tate was injured in the very first week – he has fought his way back to fitness and whilst he has been doing that his team-mates have pushed themselves to the higher reaches of the division – they were leaders yesterday until the postponement of their game against Hartlepool.
“Seeing the boys at the top of the table takes a little sting out of my injury,” Tate told the Sporting Post “After making two appearances it was disappointing to be ruled out with an injury for so long – it was unexpected as I originally thought the injury would clear up after a few days.
“I have not been out for this long before and it has been doing my head in. But it is part and parcel of football and you have to deal with it. But at least the boys have been doing very well. The gaffer couldn’t have asked for more from them.
“I have watched them and studied how things have gone in games and the challenge for me now is to get back in the squad and team sooner rather than later. I would rather have to fight my way back into a team at the top of the table than walk straight back into a team struggling at the bottom.
“We had a really tough training session on Wednesday, it was played in a game situation and I cam through that well. That has pushed me further to returning to first-team selection which is obviously up to the gaffer.
“But I will probably have a reserve game or two first. I am hoping to come back and play at centre back. People have been saying that we need another centre half to add competition but I want to prove that we don’t need one.
“Myself and Big Den started off well before my injury and we have seen Garry come in and do a great job. Now it’s up to me to prove to the gaffer that I am ready and good enough to win a place in the starting line-up.
“We have made a really good start. It is all good and well being top in October but you need to still be pushing your weight over December, January and February – those are the months where we have thrown it away in recent years. It is the business end of the season and you have to scrap it out and pick up points wherever you go.
“We have a talented squad – the best I have seen here and I think that we have the quality to do it this year. The gaffer has got a big squad of talented players and we are all pushing in the same direction.”
Let’s hope that direction is upwards!