Graham Potter knows Swansea City will need to showcase their battling qualities if they are to continue their winning start to 2019 at Preston on Saturday (3pm).
Comprehensive away wins at Reading in the Championship and Aston Villa in the FA Cup have provided an impressive opening to the calendar year. Potter’s team will look to build on those results when they take on North End at Deepdale.
But, while the Swans may have won by handsome three-goal margins in their last two games, the 43-year-old is under no illusions as to the threat Preston will pose.
Jay Fulton’s first league goal for the club saw Swansea come out on top in the meeting between the sides at the Liberty back in August.
But they had to survive a ferocious second-half fightback from the Lilywhites to take the three points.
And, with Potter’s assistant Billy Reid having had Preston boss Alex Neil as his captain at Hamilton, he needs no reminding of what lies in wait in Lancashire.
“It will be the opposite of easy knowing Alex and the game we had here at home, where we won 1-0, but were fortunate to get a win to be honest and a draw would probably have been a fair result,” said Potter.
“Their second-half performance was a good one and, on another day, it’s a different scoreline.
“Billy knows Alex well and I have a lot of respect for his team and how they play, the type of mentality they bring to the game.
“We are expecting a very tough game.”
In addition to seeing off a Preston onslaught, Swansea also had to cope with the disappointment of missing an early penalty and seeing keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt limp off with an injury in that August fixture.
But they showed commendable spirit to overcome those setbacks and battle through, a quality Potter feels his team possess in abundance and will need to show again this weekend.
“At home we got off to a good start, then we missed a penalty, Kris got injured and you have a number of things happening that could have made you feel sorry for yourself,” added Potter.
“But the boys kept going, got the lead and managed to dig in when we were under the cosh.
“Even though you would like it to be free-flowing, good quality football, creating plenty of chances, there is also another side to the game which you have to have, which is when things are not going well you are able to scrap it out.
“We have had that throughout the season. I cannot remember a time when that has been lacking.
“There may be other things we have been missing but the players’ attitude and desire to play for Swansea City has always been there and they’ve been very good in that regard.”