Preview | Blackburn Rovers v Swansea City

18th February
First team
Ewood Park

Swansea City will look to build on a morale-boosting win over Blackpool when they visit Ewood Park to take on Blackburn Rovers this afternoon (3pm).

Victory in midweek saw Russell Martin’s side climb back to within five points of the play-off places with 15 games of the season remaining.

Blackburn, meanwhile, are also in the play-off mix and are looking to return to winning ways having drawn their last four games in succession, having not drawn any of their previous 27 league games.

There is a lot at stake for both sides as the business end of the season fast approaches.

Team news

Russell Martin Birmingham City

Swansea City have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the trip to Lancashire, although head coach Russell Martin has hinted at the need to rotate his squad at the end of a three-game week, and with a short turnaround to come before Tuesday’s home game against Stoke.

New signing Andreas Sondergaard will be in the matchday squad after receiving EFL and international clearance.

Pre-match views

Russell Martin: 

“We are five points off the top six, there are 15 games left and seven of the players who started against Blackpool were 23 or under. That is not normal in this division, and the way we try to play is not normal.

“We are on a journey and part of that is to be different, and the events in January highlight why we need to be different.

“As a club, supporters, players, staff, everyone, we have to pull together and get behind this group of young players. That is the only choice we have.

“There are players here who will help this club for a long time to come, the evidence is there to see that.

“Players like Nathan Wood who has been excellent over the last few weeks, Ben Cabango has made big strides in the time we have been there, Ollie Cooper has really progressed in his journey.

“It’s not easy to win games every week in this league, but the players work so hard for us and the togetherness as a group is outstanding."

Jon-Dahl Tomasson:

“They’re a team who are extremely good on the ball, probably one of the best in the league.

"They’re creating chances but they also give chances away.

“It could be a game where we will need to accept at times that they will have the ball for a while, the players and fans need to accept that.

“We’ll need patience without the ball in some circumstances. It’s about finding that balance.

“Each opponent has weaknesses and we need to work that to our advantage."

Remember the last time?

Blackburn away Russell Martin 2

Jamie Paterson marked his debut with a goal but it was not enough to see Swansea City pick up a point in Russell Martin’s first game in in charge on their last visit to Ewood Park.

Goals from Sam Gallagher and Ben Brereton Diaz, the latter from the penalty spot after Steven Benda had fouled Tyrhys Dolan, had put Rovers 2-0 to the good.

But the Swans – who signalled their intent to look to build play from the back from the off – grew into the game and became more assured as it went on.

Paterson fired high into the net after a lovely, flowing attack and the visitors had the better of the final 30 minutes or so.

Liam Cullen was denied an equaliser by a superb save from Thomas Kaminski, while there were moments where an accurate final pass would have created an opportunity.

It meant head coach Martin saw his first game end in defeat, but there was no doubting there was plenty of encouragement to be taken from a challenging afternoon where his methods were clear to see right from the outset.

Prime numbers

Matty Sorinola Blackpool goal

52 – Swansea have not won at Ewood Park since a 2-1 victory in the old Third Division back in September 1971, nearly 52 years ago.

67 – Matty Sorinola scored his second goal of the season in midweek. Of all Swansea players to score this season, he has the best shot accuracy percentage of 67 per cent.