Preview: Birmingham v Swans

17th August 2018
First team

Swansea City face one of the club’s finest servants as they look to continue their impressive start to the season at Birmingham City tonight (7.45pm).

Garry Monk comes up against the Swans for the first time in his career when Graham Potter’s team go to St Andrew’s.

It promises to be an emotional evening for Monk, who captained the Swans in all four divisions – and lifted two trophies at Wembley – before leading the club to their best Premier League finish after being named manager.

And it will also be a strange occasion for the Swans as they are reunited with a former stalwart.

Monk will not be the only man facing a previous employer this evening.

For Potter, the trip to Birmingham means a return to the club where he learned his trade and took his first steps in senior football in the early 1990s.

The former Blues player has made a fine start to life in the Swans dugout with victories over Sheffield United and Preston in his first two games at the helm.

He goes in search of a hat-trick against a Birmingham side who are yet to win this season.

Monk’s men drew with Norwich on the opening day and then lost narrowly at Middlesbrough last weekend.

A second-string side were beaten at Reading in midweek, but Monk will expect better as his team return to their own patch tonight.

Birmingham may have struggled last season – they only secured Championship survival on the final day – but their home record was more than respectable.

Once again, therefore, the Swans will have to dig deep if they are to secure another positive result.

 

TEAM NEWS

Birmingham are expected to make a raft of changes after Monk made 11 alterations for their Carabao Cup defeat at Reading on Tuesday.

The experienced Craig Gardner is suspended, though, while another midfielder, Cheikh Ndoye, left the Blues for Angers this week.

Striker Isaac Vassell and midfield man David Davis are injured.

The Swans will be without Kristoffer Nordfeldt because of the groin problem he picked up against Preston, meaning a probable start for Erwin Mulder.

Leroy Fer has another week of training under his belt after making a surprise return from a long-term Achilles injury last time out.

 

PRE-MATCH VIEWS

Garry Monk: “Since I came into the club St Andrew’s has been very kind to us. It’s a Friday night in front of our fans. We’ve only lost one game at home so we need to make it a fortress this season.

Graham Potter: “I know Garry will have his team organised and playing well. We don’t expect any game to be easy in the division we are in and we expect a tough challenge.”

 

REMEMBER THE LAST TIME?

Aside from a pre-season game last year, the Swans last visited St Andrew’s for an FA Cup fourth-round tie in January 2014.

The trip to Birmingham was the Swans’ reward for their stunning victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford in round three.

Things did not start well for Michael Laudrup’s Premier League outfit, who fell behind to a Blues team who were 17th in the Championship when Lee Novak headed home.

But sub Wilfried Bony made the difference for the Swans.

He met Roland Lamah’s cross to level on 67 minutes, then chipped keeper Colin Doyle two minutes later to secure the win.

 

PRIME NUMBERS

270 – Monk played 270 games for the Swans, the last of which was a 3-1 League Cup defeat at Birmingham in September 2013. That was also his final game as a player.

3 – The Swans will look to make it three wins from three at the start of a new league season for the first time since 2003-04, when Brian Flynn’s team were inspired by new recruit Lee Trundle.