Preview | Barnsley v Swansea City
Swansea City return to Championship action as they make the journey to Oakwell to take on Barnsley in Saturday’s late kick-off (7.45pm).
Having booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup with victory at Stevenage last time out, Steve Cooper’s side take on a Barnsley side who they only faced a month ago in the reverse fixture.
The Swans were 2-0 victors on that occasion with Jamal Lowe and an own goal giving them the three points.
But it was a hard-fought battle, and Barnsley have been a team on the move under Valerien Ismael, winning six of their last nine games to move to within sight of the play-off berth.
Swansea, of course, began the weekend in the automatic promotion places and will be keen to build on two very good performances against Reading and Watford.
But they know a tough battle awaits them in South Yorkshire.
Joel Latibeaudiere and Ryan Bennett are doubtful for the Saturday night clash as they continue to recover from calf and hamstring problems respectively.
Brandon Cooper and Steven Benda are long-term absentees with ankle injuries, while Tivonge Rushesha is also on the sidelines.
New signing Ben Hamer will be involved provided international clearance is received in time following his move from Huddersfield.
Steve Cooper: “After the FA Cup game I was thinking maybe we could have played a little bit better and maybe it wasn’t as fluid as we would like.
“But I looked at some of the other games from the weekend and at the team we put out with debuts and players who haven’t start for a long while, and actually there were a load of positives to come from it.
“The lads deserve a lot of credit for it. It’s one that we are better for, but it’s back to the league now.
Valerien Ismael: “I think we have improved since this game in Swansea. It was a strange one because Swansea played a different kind of football that day, which was a surprise.
“It will be a tough game against a club who are going for the Premier League. But we now know more about them and we will be prepared, more ready on this occasion, however they decide to play.
“We’ll adapt if necessary.”
Remember the last time?
Swansea City remained undefeated away from home after Andre Ayew’s third goal in as many games secured a point at Barnsley on their last visit to Oakwell in October 2019.
The Ghanaian had bundled in from close range after a goalmouth scramble to give the Swans the lead.
But Alex Mowatt levelled shortly after that 67th minute opener to deny the visitors all three points.
While Swansea were not at their best, the result kept Steve Cooper’s men in the Championship top six a quarter of the way through the season.
11 - Swansea City have not lost to Barnsley in the 10 meetings since the sides met in the League One play-off final in 2006.
57 – Incredibly, Swansea City keeper Freddie Woodman has a 57 per cent success rate when it comes to saving penalty kicks during his time with the club.
Today we welcome our virtual mascots, Steffan Francis and Jake Evans.
Steffan is aged 10, from Bridgend and his favourite player is Andre Ayew. Steffan has two brothers and plays football for Brackla JFC.
Jake is aged four, comes from Mountain Ash and his favourite player is also Andre Ayew.