Preview | Birmingham City v Swansea City
Swansea City will look to meet Steve Cooper’s challenge and back up their win over Sheffield Wednesday when they face Birmingham City tonight (6pm).
The Swans make the trip to St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium just three days after seeing off the Owls on home turf at the Liberty Stadium.
Those valuable three points kept Swansea in the play-off hunt, and the fixtures played on Tuesday evening mean they head into this game four away from the top six.
Cooper has called for his side to find some consistency and string results together at such a vital time of the season, having been disappointed by how they followed up a fine win at Middlesbrough with a poor showing against Luton.
But it will be no easy task against a Birmingham side whose Championship status is not secure following a run of nine games without a win under former Swans’ assistant boss Pep Clotet, who is set to leave the Blues at the conclusion of the campaign.
It’s a game where both sides need a result, and there is plenty at stake.
Jordon Garrick serves the final game of his three-match ban following his red card against Luton, while Joe Rodon and Ben Wilmot will miss the remaining handful of games this season.
Mike van der Hoorn made a first appearance since January 2 in the win over Sheffield Wednesday, but may not be risked from the start given his long lay-off.
Cooper was hopeful of having Rhian Brewster available after the striker took a knock to his shoulder at the weekend.
Steve Cooper: “There is not long to go now, but I think a lot will happen in the games that are left.
“But we need to focus on Birmingham, we have to look after ourselves first and foremost.
“We have got to back the weekend win up with another one, because that is so important. We have to be really committed to that. We had the chance after Middlesbrough and did not back it up.
“If we can do that then we will see where it takes us.”
Pep Clotet: “What I want for Birmingham is to keep bouncing back with performances and keep bouncing back with results.
“It’s about the mentality to keep working, scoring our chances and taking points. The same the game after.”
Remember the last time?
The Swans claimed a hard-earned point to maintain their unbeaten start to the season as they drew 0-0 on their last visit to Birmingham City in August 2018.
Graham Potter, returning to the club where he started his professional career, saw his side withstand heavy pressure at St Andrew’s - particularly in the first half - to frustrate the Blues.
Erwin Mulder made fine first-half saves to deny Harvey Dean and Lukas Jutkiewicz, while the latter also missed a golden opportunity to break the deadlock as he shot wide.
The Blues did have the ball in the net after 20 minutes, with Mulder keeping out a Dean effort from a corner before the hosts bundled the ball over the line, only for the assistant referee to flag for offside.
There was not much in terms of goal threat for the Swans, who handed a league debut to Daniel James in the second half, but Potter’s team held on for a point.
1 – Swansea City can complete a first league double over Birmingham City, having not managed the feat in the 15 previous seasons when the clubs have occupied the same division.
9 – Birmingham are winless in nine Championship games, the joint-longest current streak in the Championship.