Monk predicting tough Sunderland test
6th February 2015
Garry Monk is anticipating another tough test this weekend when his side face Sunderland at the Liberty Stadium (3pm).
The Swans returned to winning ways last Sunday with a superb victory against in-form Southampton, and they go in search of their first home win since Boxing Day on Saturday.
Sunderland also come into the contest on the back of three points after their success against Burnley last time out, but Swansea have lost just once in their last seven outings against the Black Cats.
The two sides played out a 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture back in September - despite the Swans ending the game with ten men - and Monk is predicting another tight contest at the Liberty.
"They (Sunderland) played well that day," he said. "It was a tough game and very physical. But when we went down to ten men, to get a point and clean sheet was a good result.
"They will be tough opposition again this weekend and it will be a similar type of game. Hopefully we can produce a performance that warrants three points rather than one."
Both teams strengthened their squads in the January transfer window, with Swansea bringing in three new faces in the form of Matt Grimes, Jack Cork and Kyle Naughton.
Sunderland, meanwhile, made a high profile addition in the shape of England striker Jermain Defoe, with the former Spurs man opening his account for the club in last weekend's win over Burnley.
"He's (Defoe) a fantastic player," said Monk. "He can score goals, he plays on the shoulder of the defender and he often spoke about how much he missed the Premier League.
"He is a player we'll have to be wary of, but they have good players all over the pitch. It will be interesting to see how the game pans out but we are at home, and we were very disappointed with our last game here against Chelsea so we'll be looking to put that right."
With the Swans now on 33 points in the Premier League - the same tally they had at this stage in 2012/13 - there is a chance for Monk's side to push on for their highest points total since returning to the top-flight.
"I'm always pushing for more," he said. "Our first point of call is to get to that 40-point mark and we've got a chance to get there probably quicker than we have ever done before.
"We've got an important month coming up, starting on Saturday, and we want to show how we want to go forward until the end of the season."
Meanwhile, Monk confirmed that Wayne Routledge and Marvin Emnes are both sidelined through injury, Gylfi Sigurdsson sits out the second game of his three-match suspension and Jefferson Montero returns to the squad after missing last week's win over Southampton.