Preview: Bristol City v Swans
Two of the Sky Bet Championship’s form sides go head-to-head at Ashton Gate this afternoon as Swansea City face Bristol City (3pm).
Oli McBurnie’s dramatic late leveller in the see-saw encounter with Birmingham ensures the Swans – who will be backed by 3,300 Jacks in BS3 – are now unbeaten in seven games in all competitions.
That represents the club’s best run of the season, but it is a sequence their hosts can trump.
Lee Johnson’s Robins are unbeaten in 12 matches, and they have won their last six games in succession to move to the brink of the Championship play-off places and reach the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time in 18 years.
They were just two points and one place behind sixth-placed Derby heading into this round of second-tier fixtures, three points and four places above the Swans.
Recent history would suggest a tight encounter is in prospect. Indeed, nine of the last 10 meetings have ended goalless or in a 1-0 victory for one of the two sides.
The only exception was Swansea’s 2-0 win at Ashton Gate in February 2011.
Wayne Routledge misses out again for Swansea as the calf strain that saw him miss the games against Gillingham and Birmingham keeps him on the sidelines for the trip to Ashton Gate.
Captain Leroy Fer will also be unavailable after picking up a hamstring injury in midweek.
Joe Rodon (foot) and Martin Olsson (Achilles) are absent with longer-term injuries.
Graham Potter: “It’s going to be a tough challenge for us but we are in quite a good place ourselves, so we will go there in a good mood and be confident and positive.
“Bristol City are a good team, but we are fighting for points and we will carry that on.
“The support we have had has been incredible and we are looking forward to the game because we have got a good following going there and I think it’s going to be a fantastic day.”
Matt Grimes: “Of course we wanted to win against Birmingham, but in the grand scheme of things it is seven games unbeaten which we will take going into Saturday’s game.
“It is a draw when we wanted the win, but to score a last-minute equaliser gives us a big lift.”
Jamie McAllister (Bristol City assistant manager): “They’re a good side, they’re on a good run, we’re on a good run, so there’s two teams on form.
“Hopefully there’ll be 23,000 plus here on Saturday, which is good. It’s kind of a local derby, English vs Welsh in the team as well. I’m sure both teams will be looking forward to the game.”
Remember the last time?
This will be the Swans’ first visit to Ashton Gate since the aforementioned meeting in February of 2011, just a few months before Brendan Rodgers’ side would be promoted to the Premier League.
Darren Pratley was the matchwinner on that occasion as his brace moved Swansea into third place in the Championship table.
The midfielder opened the scoring after a Luke Moore run ended with the ball falling into his path, and he expertly lofted a volley into the back of the net.
Moore and Scott Sinclair were denied as they threatened to double the advantage, while Dorus de Vries produced a fine save at the other end to deny Brett Pitman’s curling effort.
But Pratley put the game to bed when he bundled in Mark Gower’s cross as Swansea won at Ashton Gate for the first time in 18 years.
7 – Both sides have been in good form and Swansea have netted 16 times in six games, but meetings with the Robins have been short on goals. In the last 10 meetings the two sides have managed just seven between them.
22 – Oli McBurnie’s brace in midweek took his Championship tally to 22 since making his debut in the division on loan at Barnsley last term. In that time only Billy Sharp (23) has scored more goals in the second tier.