Preview | Birmingham City v Swansea City

2nd April
First team
Birmingham

Swansea City return to Championship action tonight as they head to the Midlands to face Birmingham City (8pm).

Following two defeats before the international break, Steve Cooper's side will be looking to return to winning ways as they head into their final nine games of the campaign.

They sit six points behind second-placed Watford, with a game in hand.

It will be the second trip to St Andrew's this season for the Swans, who drew with Coventry City at the same venue in October.

They face a Birmingham side that is locked in a relegation battle, with the Blues sitting just three points above the relegation zone.

They have a familiar face in the dug out, withe Lee Bowyer appointed as manager following Aitor Karanka's dismissal. The former Blues midfielder has already taken charge of two games - a victory over Reading and a defeat to Watford.

He will be desperate to improve their home form, with just four victories in 19 attempts coming at St Andrew's.

Andre Ayew

Team news

The Swans are without US international Paul Arriola, who has returned to parent club D.C. United after a recurrence of his thigh injury that will rule him out for the rest of the season.

Cooper is hoping top scorer Andre Ayew and Conor Hourihane will have recovered from injuries, while a late decision will be made on Marc Guehi, who met up with the squad in Birmingham after arriving back from England Under-21 duty on Thursday.

Ryan Manning also linked up with the squad on Thursday after he returned from international duty with Ireland, while Liam Cullen remains sidelined but is making good progress in his rehab following an ankle injury.

The Blues are waiting on the fitness of Scott Hogan and Ivan Sanchez, with the pair having injections to manage back and hernia issues,

Alen Halilovic. Jeremie Bela and Jonathan Leko all provide options if Sanchez doesn't make the game.

Steve Cooper

Pre-match views

Steve Cooper: “It’s a vital end to the season. It feels like there are more on the games now than there were earlier on in the season.

“We have to embrace the nine games, the challenge, our position and make the most of our opportunity, and try not to have any regrets.”

Lee Bowyer: "Swansea are a good team that have good players who can hurt you. But if you stop those good players then it evens it out a little bit and we have players that can also hurt them.

"The most important thing is that we know we are playing at home and we have to make it tough for them."

Cabango v Birmingham H

Remember the last time?

Defences came out on top in the previous meeting between the sides - a 0-0 draw at the Liberty in September, which was the Swans' first home game of the campaign.

Former Cardiff keeper Neil Etheridge kept a clean sheet on his debut, and denied Marc Guehi a late winner with a fine low save.

 

Prime numbers

6 - The Swans are unbeaten in their last six league meetings against the Blues. Despite a League Cup victory in 2013, Birmingham's last league win over the Swans came at the Liberty in 2009 with Kevin Phillips scoring a brace in a 3-2 victory.

28 - The hosts are the third lowest scorers in the league this season. Only bottom club Wycombe (25) and Derby (27) have scored fewer.

Birmingham virtual mascots

Today’s mascots

Tonight we welcome our virtual mascots, Liberty Parker and Zac Lloyd.

Liberty, 10, is from Mountain Ash and her favourite player is Andre Ayew. 

Zac, eight,is from Swansea and his favourite player is Yan Dhanda. Zac plays football for St Joseph’s and has one brother called Jenson. Zac was our Easter Bonnet competition winner – congratulations Zac!

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