Preview | Charlton Athletic v Swansea City
Swansea City again face one of the Championship’s early high-flyers when they head to The Valley to take on Charlton tonight (7.45pm).
This will already be the Swans’ sixth fixture against one of the sides currently in the top 10, and the Addicks will be full of confidence have seen off Leeds on home turf at the weekend.
Lee Bowyer’s men are riding the crest of a wave having secured promotion from League One via the play-offs, and that momentum has carried over into the second tier as they headed into this round of fixtures sitting in the last of the play-off places.
Despite the frustration of being unable to claim victories over Bristol City and Reading, the Swans were still second ahead of the midweek action and have lost just one of their opening nine games.
However, head coach Steve Cooper has warned of the sort of intensity and atmosphere they are likely to face in south-east London.
And, given their impressive away record this season, another positive result away from the Liberty would just underline the growing feeling that there is a greater solidity and resilience about the Swans this season.
With this game and Saturday’s fixture against Stoke coming just before the international break, Cooper and his players will want to head into that brief period of respite with momentum behind them.
Swansea City are again without the suspended Jake Bidwell as the full-back serves the final part of his three-match ban.
Aldo Kalulu is the other absentee as the winger continues to recover from an ankle problem, but head coach Steve Cooper reported no new injury worries when he faced the media at his pre-match press conference.
The home side will be missing the trio of Tomer Hemed, Beram Kayal and Lyle Taylor.
Steve Cooper: “They’re a club used to winning, and it’s a good habit to have.
“Momentum and spirits are high, and rightly so given what they achieved last season and their results this season.
“Sometimes when you come up on the back of promotion it can be a bit of a high.
“They’re a competitive team and they play some good football.
“So we have to be ready, ready to play our way and make sure we match their strengths and the intensity they play at.”
Lee Bowyer: “I think from start to finish, we know we’ve got a group of players who will put their bodies on the line time and time again. I can’t praise them anymore. “They’re a group that never say die. To get three points against Leeds, just shows how far we’ve come as a club.
“But I would never say it means more as three points is three points no matter who you’re playing. I’ll be saying the same thing on Wednesday.”
Remember the last time?
Swansea City have not visited The Valley since the opening day of the 2008-09 season, when they made their first appearance in the second tier for 24 years.
However, it was not a happy return to the Championship as they suffered a 2-0 defeat and ended the game with 10 men.
Mark Hudson headed in a cross from Jonjo Shelvey in just the third minute and Swansea’s chances to getting back into it were hampered when Garry Monk was dismissed after a second-half challenge on Matt Holland.
And Andy Gray made sure the three points were claimed by the hosts with his late header.
1 – The Swans have won just once in their last 16 visits to Charlton, while the Addicks have lost just once in their last 22 home league games.
6 – The Swans are unbeaten in six games on their travels, having lost all of their previous seven games on their travels.