Belfast Telegraph

Swansea boss Monk: Gamble paid off

Swansea boss Garry Monk took a calculated selection gamble against Hull and was delighted to be rewarded with a 1-0 victory.

Monk surprisingly made seven changes for the trip to the KC Stadium, with top-scorer Wilfried Bony benched in favour of Bafetimbi Gomis while Gylfi Sigurdsson, Leon Britton and Jefferson Montero were all excused duty with minor fitness niggles.

With the crowded festive fixture list just starting, Monk made the tough call to provide key men with an early rest but still walked away with the points after Ki Sung-yueng inadvertently deflected Jonjo Shelvey's shot goalwards.

"I knew making those changes that people would question it but I was very confident in the group," he said.

"We have such a busy period coming up and, if you play the same 11 players in that period, that's suicide for me.

"We haven't got the biggest squad but we have got quality. We have a way of working where everyone understands what their roles are so I had no problem putting different players in those positions. I trust them and I think that trust was shown in the game.

"Some of them haven't had a hell of a lot of game time but all credit to them, they dug in and got the result which is what it's all about."

With Bony due to represent the Ivory Coast at January's African Nations Cup, Gomis' elevation gave a hint of what Swansea fans can expect in January.

He was one of three players to hit the post, joining Shelvey and Hull wing-back Andy Robertson, and pleased Monk with his contribution.

"Obviously we're coming up to a period where Bony will go to the African Cup of Nations and Bafi needs game time," he added.

"That was behind my decision and I thought Bafi did very well. He's a very good striker and could have got a couple of goals.

"Those minutes will help him hit the ground running when January comes and Bony goes away."

For the Tigers, things are becoming increasingly bleak.

They are winless in 10 matches and have not scored in seven of those.

Lying second bottom they are also battling a player shortage, with Jake Livermore's fifth yellow card ruling him out of the Boxing Day trip to Sunderland and defenders Curtis Davies and Alex Bruce limping off.

With Michael Dawson, Mohamed Diame and Tom Huddlestone already sitting out, Bruce is without a handful of senior men.

"Today just highlighted for me the need for your big players," he said.

"I still expect a better performance than we witnessed in the second half but we're crying out for some of our bigger players. Whether it's injuries or suspensions we couldn't cope without them.

"You need your big established Premier League players and far too many of ours are sitting in the stands."

Bruce also revealed that SOS calls for Tom Ince and Maynor Figueroa, on loan at Cardiff and Wigan respectively, were imminent.

"We'll probably recall Incey and probably Figueroa too. We are down to 15 or 16 players who are available," Bruce said.

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