SWANSEA CITY striker Jason Scotland admits he needs to be more ruthless in front of goal.
It is certainly not a bad return, but by his own high standards Scotland, who hit 29 goals last season, admits it is already a case of could do better.
The striker is set to lead the line today for Roberto Martinez’s men as they visit rock-bottom Doncaster – a trip which is surely the perfect opportunity for Scotland to add to his tally.
“To be honest, I don’t seem to score against the sides at the bottom,” laughed a relaxed Scotland.
“I would not say I was disappointed with my goal-scoring this season, I have three so far.
“It is a tough league, but saying that, obviously, I would like to get more and hopefully I will do so.
“I think it is three games without scoring, so it is nothing to worry about. It is all about me doing well and putting myself in the position to score goals. I will be all right.”
Footballing pedants will note it is actually four games since Scotland grabbed a brace in the Swans’ excellent 3-1 victory over Wolves at the Liberty.
But what does Scotland see as the difference between putting the ball in the net in League One and in the Championship?
“It’s a bit more physical and you get less space. You do not get so many chances either to score,” said Scotland.
“If you do get a chance at this level you have to make it count because you probably won’t get half a chance in the game again.
“Last season you got more space and more chances, but this season you have to make it count. You have to be more ruthless.
“It is difficult, but I need to keep enjoying my football and doing the things I have been doing.”
As for the difference between the two leagues in general, Scotland is in agreement with many of his team-mates and his manager in that he has been surprised by the reluctance of many clubs to play the expansive game.
Martinez himself recently bemoaned the fact that the pressures to scramble up to the Premiership were seeing football in the Championship often sacrificed in the pursuit of the favourable result.
“It’s a tough, physical league. You’ve got some big, tall guys up front who play a bit physical.” said Scotland.
“It seems more like that than playing football at times.
“But we try to get it down and knock it around and try to kill off teams that way.
“We played that way in League One and there is no point in changing now we have come up to the Championship.
“I have been surprised by the type of football some teams play in this division.
“But, if they are getting results, then that is what probably is important.
“Some teams and managers I think feel so much pressure to get up to the Premiership that it has to be done at all costs.
“We are trying to play our football and get the result, but for some of the sides here it is just a results game.”
Neatly ensconced in 11th place in an extremely tight division, if the initial hope for the season was (and remains) just to stay up, then that is starting to be revised as the Swans take stock of life in the Championship.
Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at high-flying Wolves was Swansea’s first defeat in five games and came with a performance that belied the result.
“We were the better team and were disappointed at Wolves,” is how Scotland puts it.
“We’ve just got to see how our results go. A top-six finish is a possibility, of course, but we really must just take each game as it comes.
“We are doing all right in the league, but there is only a quarter of it gone so far.
“Some people might think we should be aiming for the top six, but it is tough.
Hopefully we can get there, but, if not, be challenging in the pack.
“It is so tight, though. A couple of wins can get you up and about.
“But, of course, if a couple of results don’t go your way you can be near the bottom.
“Everybody would be happy just for us to stay in this division, but when you see how open the division is you suddenly feel maybe you should be pushing to finish high up.”
Martinez could well drop goalkeeper Artur Krysiak today and give a first outing to Dimi Konstantopoulos, who has arrived on loan from Coventry.
Fede Bessone should continue at left-back with Marcos Painter out for six months with knee ligament damage, but wideman Tom Butler is out with a hamstring pull.
Doncaster could hand a debut to Dutch defender Shelton Martis, who arrived at Rovers yesterday on a month’s loan from West Brom.
Brian Stock, so often the uncapped bridesmaid but never the bride with Wales, is back after being suspended for their 1-0 loss to Barnsley in midweek.
Rovers, who came up with Swansea last season, may be suffering, but Scotland insists a challenging afternoon is ahead.
“It will be a tough game. They are bottom of the table and they will be looking to come off there,” added Scotland.
“We came up from League One and are doing well, and Doncaster will be looking up at us thinking they want to start doing the same.”