PREVIEW: Birmingham v Swans
25th September 2013
The Swans begin the defence of their Capital One Cup crown against Birmingham City at St Andrews on Wednesday night (7.45pm).
Michael Laudrup's side play in the competition for the first time since beating Bradford City at Wembley last February, which secured the club's first major trophy.
The holders head to the Championship outfit - winners of the League Cup in 2011 - looking to build momentum on the past week which included a draw with Liverpool and victories in Valencia and Crystal Palace.
Birmingham are currently 18th in the Championship, with Lee Clark's side picking up seven points from eight games - their latest a 4-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday.
The Blues beat Plymouth and then Yeovil, via a penalty shootout, to progress to the third round.
The Swans are again without Pablo Hernandez (hamstring) while skipper Ashley Williams (ankle) is a doubt. Neil Taylor, however, is set for a recall after recovering from a thigh problem which has sidelined him for the past month.
The Blues are without Swans loanee Kyle Bartley as he's not eligible to face his parent club while Jesse Lingard - on loan from Manchester United - is also unavailable.
Lee Novak, Hayden Mullins, Akwasi Asante and Nikola Zigic are all on the injured list while David Murphy is set to be rested.
WHAT THEY SAID
Birmingham boss Lee Clark: "In my opinion, it's the hardest tie outside of the (Premier League's) top six for various reasons.
"Swansea's a club on the up, not just the team as it's been a club on the rise for many years.
"They are the holders of the competition and they're sweeping everybody aside at this moment in time in no matter what competition they play."
Swans manager Michael Laudrup: "I told the players last season that the cup is a possibility for smaller clubs to have success. You only need a few wins and you're in the semi-final, so we have to try and do that.
"I think everybody still remembers that feeling, standing with the trophy after winning against Bradford.
"Birmingham are a strong side. I think they will think the same way as I do.
"They've reached the final and won this competition, so they know it's possible. They will try to beat us to get there again."
David Murphy and Colin Doyle are the only surviving Blues players still at the club that were in the squad when the sides last met - a 0-0 draw at St Andrews in the Championship.
The only cup meeting (excluding Football League Trophy) between the teams was an FA Cup encounter in January 1950 at the Vetch, which the Swans won 3-0.
Birmingham have played the Swans 29 times in competitive fixtures - the Blues have won 15 while the Swans have triumphed in seven with seven stalemates.
In the League Cup, the Swans have lost just two of their last seven games on the road.
The holders have kept clean sheets in their last four games in the competition.
From their four games so far this month, Michael Laudrup's side are unbeaten.
You will be able to follow the game via our website, while you can also keep up to date with all the action via our Twitter account @SwansOfficial