Preview | Derby County v Swansea City
Swansea City will look to head into the international break on the back of a positive result when they face Derby County at Pride Park this afternoon (3pm).
The Swans have lost just one of their five league games since the last pause for World Cup qualifying, with that solitary defeat coming at Fulham in midweek.
Regardless of the loss, there has been plenty to be encouraged by over the last month or so and head coach Russell Martin will be keen to see that trend continue against the Rams.
Wayne Rooney's side have endured a difficult time, with a 12-point deduction for entering administration sending them to the foot of the table.
But their win over Reading in midweek underlined their fighting spirit, and the Swans will need to be on their mettle if they are to record just a second away win over the Rams in 40 years.
Russell Martin expects to make changes for the trip to Pride Park, and was hopeful of having at least one of Ryan Bennett and Michael Obafemi available.
Olivier Ntcham is set to miss out with a hamstring injury, while Rhys Williams is back in contention for selection.
Russell Martin: "The league is very close and tight and I think they have done brilliantly given the situation they find themselves in, and I have a lot of respect and admiration for the job Wayne is doing there.
"Sometimes things like that can bring you together and give you something to really fight for and it seems they have gone that way.
"They are not feeling sorry for themselves or giving anything up, they are fighting for absolutely everything.
"It’s too early in the season to talk about teams as being certain to be relegated or promoted and this is going to be a tough game.
"They had a good win in midweek and it’s a tough place to go.
"But the challenge of every game is different, it’s up to us to bring the correct mentality. We have to focus and we are looking forward to it.
“We want a performance that will allow us to go and get a result.”
Wayne Rooney: "I've just been open with them, players respect that. It was not long ago I was a player, and the one thing you want as a player is your manager and coaches to be open.
"I have been really open with them, been honest with them, told them what the situation is, whether it is good or bad, and the players respond to that.
"It almost brings that siege mentality where we know we are in a tough moment but if we stick together we will get through it. If I go in there with any doubt the players will sense that."
Remember the last time?
Swansea City suffered just a fourth league defeat of the season against Derby County on their visit to Pride Park in December 2020.
First-half goals from Colin Kazim-Richards and Kamil Jozwiak were enough to seal only a third league win of the season for the Rams.
The visitors had travelled full of confidence after a 2-0 victory over Cardiff City in the South Wales derby.
However, the sluggish Swans were unable to match those performance levels as they missed out on the chance to close the gap on Bournemouth and Norwich at the top of the Championship table.
1 – Swansea have won away at Derby just once in 40 years. That sole victory coming courtesy of a Shefki Kuqi goal in 2010.
63.22 – Having once again dominated the ball at Craven Cottage in midweek, Russell Martin’s side are now ranked as the top side in the Championship when it comes to share of possession.