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Last Updated: Friday, 9 June 2006, 09:27 GMT 10:27 UK
Pratley's sights set on promotion
Darren Pratley
Pratley turned down an offer from Fulham to join Swansea
Darren Pratley says he can help dispel the memory of last season's play-off despair by leading Swansea City to League One promotion next season.

"This is a new start for me," said 21-year-old midfielder Pratley after his 100,000 move from Fulham.

"This club is going in the right direction and hopefully next year we'll be playing in the Championship.

"That's what I've come here for. I'm going to try my hardest to get in the team and make sure I keep my place."

Pratley's arrival at the Liberty Stadium represents the end of a long courtship by Swans manager Kenny Jackett.

I'm convinced of his desire to want to do well and try to improve himself

Swansea manager Kenny Jackett

A 60,000 bid was rejected by Fulham manager Chris Coleman last July, and Pratley returned for another spell on loan at Brentford.

But Jackett has now finally got his man, and he is expecting big things from the athletic midfielder who has signed a three-year deal.

"I've seen lots of Darren right the way through his youth days coming through at Fulham," Jackett told BBC Wales Sport.

"I've always felt he had the potential to do very well. I've been watching him for a long while and I'm convinced of his ability.

"More importantly I'm convinced of his desire to want to do well and try to improve himself."

Pratley broke into Fulham's first team back in 2003 when he played against Wigan in a League Cup tie. He made his Premiership debut two months later, but then spent the rest of his Craven Cottage days in the reserves.

He joined Brentford on loan for the latter part of the 2004-05 season, helping them to the League One play-offs.

He returned to the Bees for a season-long loan, and again lost in the play-offs - this time to his new club Swansea.

Fulham recently offered him a one-year deal to prove himself at Craven Cottage, but Pratley feels Swansea is the best place for him to develop his career.

When you've got a manager that wants you, it's going to make you more confident and want to do well for him

Darren Pratley

"I've been playing reserve-team football for the past five years and I think it's time to move on," Pratley told BBC Wales Sport.

"It's all well and good playing reserve football, but there's more commitment and more on the line when you're playing in the first-team for the club. That's what I need to improve.

"And when you've got a manager that wants you, it's going to make you more confident and want to do well for him.

"When I'm happy, I play well."

With Owain Tudur Jones and Darren Way injured, and former club captain Roberto Martinez released, Pratley will be one of only two central midfielders fit for the beginning of Swansea's season.

Jackett has pencilled him in for an attacking midfielder's role, and Pratley says he is excited by the prospect of linking up with Swansea's strikers.

"Their strikeforce was the difference between the two sides when Swansea beat Brentford in the play-off semi-final," added Pratley.

"When you've got four strikers like Swansea have, then teams are always going to have problems.

"Those type of players, the stadium and the fans is what attracted me to come here."

SEE ALSO
Bees extend Pratley's loan spell
10 Jan 06 |  Brentford


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