Francesco Guidolin: Hull City clash is "massive" for Swansea City
18th August 2016
Francesco Guidolin is billing Swansea City's opening home fixture of the season as a "massive game" as his team look to build on their Burnley triumph by beating Hull City.
The Swans began 2016-17 with a victory on the road thanks to Leroy Fer's late goal at Turf Moor.
Now Guidolin is hungry to make it six points from six as his side take on another of the Premier League's newly-promoted clubs.
Hull endured a tricky close season, with manager Steve Bruce leaving the KCOM Stadium and a lack of new signings arriving on Humberside.
But with Mike Phelan at the helm, Hull surprised everyone by beating champions Leicester City on the opening day.
And Guidolin said: "I think Hull are a good team. They are an important opponent and the match will be difficult for us.
"They haven't got a lot of players, but they have an important group. In these difficult moments, a strong group can become even stronger.
"This is our difficulty for Saturday and so we have to be ready.
"It is a massive game for us. We are concentrating and focusing only on this game. We are not thinking about what is to come afterwards."
Guidolin revealed that record-signing Borja Baston will miss the Hull clash as a result of a minor thigh injury, while Leon Britton is battling to be fit having missed two days of training through illness.
Neil Taylor is unlikely to feature as he builds his fitness following a late return to pre-season training, but Gylfi Sigurdsson and Ki Sung-Yueng are expected to be part of the squad.
The Swans are set to be watched this weekend by Stephen Kaplan and Jason Levien, who are due to attend having become majority shareholders in the club last month.
And Guidolin is hoping to put on a show for the Americans - and the supporters - as his men run out on their own patch for the first time this season.
"I hope there will be a good performance for the new owners, for the chairman, for the fans, for the players, for me and for my staff," he added. "But it will be a difficult game."
Guidolin, meantime, revealed that Jack Cork will captain his side this weekend should Britton miss out.
Guidolin on Borja Baston:
"He is not available. He has a little problem with the (thigh) muscle in his right leg. He is not available at the moment.
"I would like to have him ready in this period, but if it's not possible, it's not possible. It's a shame, but this is our job."
Guidolin on whether his international players are ready for action:
"I have to manage my group well. If I can choose, I prefer to play with players who have been with us since the start of July.
"But, for example, we need a No. 10 - we need Gylfi.
"I can choose between Neil Taylor and Stephen Kingsley. I have spoken with Neil and he will be involved in the game at Peterborough. But Gylfi and Ki will be involved against Hull."
Guidolin on the loss of Andre Ayew:
"It's the same as it was with Ashley Williams. Andre sometimes said to me he was happy to stay here with us, but if he could have a new experience to improve his status, this would be important for him.
"He decided to go to West Ham. It's normal for players to want a new challenge. He is a good player and a good guy, and I wish him all the best."
Guidolin on his centre-back search:
"I am optimistic. I have spoken frequently with the chairman. We have not rushed. We have a shortlist of players and we have to decide. We are working on this."
Guidolin on his new-look squad:
"I am used to changes. When I was at Udinese, every year we changed a lot of players. The best ones go and the younger ones come in - I am used to working this way.
"But I am happy with this group. There is a good feeling between me and my players."