Preview | Brentford v Swansea City
Swansea City face Brentford at Griffin Park tonight (7.45pm) with a trip to Wembley for the Championship play-off final on the line.
Steve Cooper’s side hold a 1-0 lead heading into the second leg of this semi-final tie, thanks to Andre Ayew’s powerful strike in the closing stages of Sunday’s first leg in SA1.
While that victory was enjoyed by the Swans, the head coach and his players wasted no time turning their attention to the trip to West London knowing the job is far from done.
The first leg made for an intriguing and engrossing tactical battle, and there is little reason to expect the second to be any less tense or fascinating.
Brentford have lost three in a row, while the Swans have won three, but the Bees are dangerous opponents as highlighted by their record as the Championship’s topscorers.
They are also saying farewell to their home of 116 years before making the move to a new stadium for the 2020-21 season.
But Swansea will not lack confidence having built up a head of steam since the lockdown, and we could well be set for more typically thrilling play-off action.
Swansea City have Kyle Naughton back in contention after the defender served a three-match suspension following his red card at Nottingham Forest.
Wayne Routledge and George Byers are doubtful with the calf and groin injuries that kept them out of the squad for the first leg, while Mike van der Hoorn’s fitness is being monitored after he played 90 minutes for the first time since December in the first leg.
Joe Rodon, Ben Wilmot and Freddie Woodman are all absent due to injury.
Brentford have left-back Rico Henry available after his red card in the first leg was overturned.
Steve Cooper: "We can only focus on ourselves. Nothing has changed for us, we still have a job to do and we have to commit everything to it.
“We’ve won three games on the bounce and I think we’re playing some really good football.
“We’re enjoying our work at the moment. We’re the afterthought of the four teams in the play-offs, but we’re okay with that.
“We believe in what we’re doing."
Thomas: Frank: It won’t be difficult to pick the players up. In the dressing room after the game I saw the fire in the players’ eyes.
“No heads have dropped. The players are ready to go.
“The determination and the irritation of the players is so high, they will be ready to go on Wednesday night.”
Remember the last time?
Leon Knight scored twice on Swansea City’s last visit to Griffin Park in the play-offs in 2006, booking a place in the final in the process.
Kenny Jackett’s men looked to be in a bit of trouble after drawing the first leg of the semi-final 1-1 at the Liberty.
But Knight put the Swans ahead in the tie inside 10 minutes in West London, as he lifted the ball over Brentford goalkeeper Stuart Nelson from 20 yards out.
The striker quickly added his second goal, racing onto a pass from Leon Britton before powering home to make it 2-0.
Rory Fallon had a great chance to make it 3-0 but his headed effort flew off target.
Goalkeeper Willy Gueret was on top form for the visitors, making a series of spectacular saves to ensure a second trip to the Millennium Stadium following the Swans’ Football League Trophy success.
8 – Swansea have scored in eight of their last 10 away games. Rhian Brewster has scored in eight of his 11 away appearances for the club, including each of the last three.
25 – Andre Ayew has been directly involved in 25 of Swansea’s goals this season (18 goals, seven assists). His goal tally of 18 is his best return in a single season in his career to date.