Preview | Bristol City v Swansea City
Two of the Championship’s top three face off at Ashton Gate as Swansea City look to return to winning ways against Bristol City (3pm).
The second-placed Swans and third-placed Robins have been among the second tier’s early pacesetters and this meeting in BS3 will be one of the division’s most anticipated fixtures of the weekend.
The two sides have suffered just one defeat apiece; Swansea’s coming last weekend against Nottingham Forest, while the hosts have not lost in the league since losing to Leeds on the opening weekend.
The loss to Forest was the first setback to hit Swansea under the guidance of Steve Cooper but, even so, a return of 16 points from a possible 21 is nothing to be sniffed at and the head coach will want his side to show their resilience by responding and getting a positive result.
Games between the sides have tended to be low scoring – indeed, only nine goals have been scored in the last 11 league contests – suggesting a tight but engrossing encounter lies in wait and fine margins may well prove to be the deciding factor.
But with 2,300 members of the Jack Army cheering them on, the Swans will be gunning for just a second win at Ashton Gate since 1993.
Aldo Kalulu is the only injury absentee for the Swans as the Frenchman continues to work his way back from the ankle injury he suffered against Preston.
Steve Cooper otherwise has a fully-fit squad to choose from against the Robins, with Joe Rodon having recovered from a knock to face Nottingham Forest, while Nathan Dyer returned from a hamstring injury last weekend.
The hosts are without injured striker Benik Afobe and defender Tomas Kalas.
Steve Cooper: “I think they’re a strong team that can win a lot of games in the league. I like Lee Johnson a lot, he’s been a manager a long time and he’s still a young coach.
“I remember him starting out at Oldham and he’s gone from strength to strength.
“They’ve invested well and they’ve got good players. But the focus is just on ourselves. We can’t worry too much about others. We want to get our own house in order.
“I hear we’ve got a good following going as well so it’s going to be important for us to give them a performance.”
Lee Johnson: "They've been excellent. I've known Steve for quite a while since we were on a leadership course together and he's maing us look fools, isn't he? One month in the job and he gets manager of the month!
“It'll be interesting to see whether that can continue. First signs are extremely good and he's got the team playing well, playing the Swansea way but with his own spin on it.
“So, it's a very difficult game for us but one that we're really looking forward to.”
Remember the last time?
Swansea City saw their unbeaten run come to an end as second-half goals from Andreas Weimann and Callum O’Dowda condemned Graham Potter’s men to defeat at Ashton Gate.
The Swans had their chances in the West Country, particularly during the first half where Frank Fielding was the busier keeper.
But the game swung in the hosts favour when Weimann capitalised on Swansea’s loss of possession to head home just 41 seconds in the second half.
George Byers hit the post for Swansea as they chased an equaliser but O’Dowda steered home the clincher to make sure the visitors' sequence without a loss ended at seven games.
3 – Swansea last won three-consecutive away league games in August 2014, but can match that with victory this weekend.
9 – Just nine goals have been scored in the last 11 league meetings between these two sides.