Preview | Huddersfield Town v Swansea City
Swansea City travel to the John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield Town this afternoon in their final match ahead of the World Cup (3pm kick-off).
Russell Martin’s side will be looking to learn the lessons from frustrating draws with Wigan Athletic and Birmingham City and end this period of games on a high before the four-week break.
The Terriers sit bottom of the table, but they recorded an impressive away victory over high-flying Queens Park Rangers in midweek; a result which head coach Mark Fotheringham believes can be a turning point in Huddersfield’s season.
The hosts will be hoping to build on that performance but the visitors will be determined to finish what has been a productive period since the last international break on a high.
Russell Martin has no fresh injury concerns ahead of this match and has the same squad to choose from as the midweek fixture in Birmingham.
Joe Allen’s focus remains on being ready for Wales' World Cup campaign in Qatar, while Liam Walsh is a long-term absentee.
Russell Martin: “It’s been a great run for us and it takes some doing because the schedule has been relentless.
“I think every manager in the league will be saying they want to finish this period off and go into the long break with some positivity and a good performance.
“Of course we want a good performance, and hopefully if we do that the result will reflect the performance. If we continue to perform how we have, we’ll be happy.
“If we can match the level of intensity we’ve shown in this run, we’ll be more than happy and a positive result would put us in a nice position in the league table ahead of the break.
“We need to make sure the players know what to expect, but if we keep performing the way we are, we believe we can cause them problems.”
Mark Fotheringham: “I just feel that that performance [against QPR] is going to change the whole season.
“It’s going to pick the spirits up for our amazing fans, I know they’re going to get behind us so much at the weekend and I know that the guys will be up for this game, and I know they’ll want to finish well going into the World Cup break.”
Remember the last time?
Flynn Downes’ scored his first Swansea City goal to cap off a superb second-half performance as the Swans earned a point at high-flying Huddersfield Town on their last visit to the John Smith’s Stadium in January.
The Swans had trailed at the interval as Danel Sinani profited from defensive hesitation to convert a rebound from close range.
But the visitors controlled the second half against a Terriers side unbeaten in their previous seven games, and they got their reward when Downes finished a smart move with a calm finish.
It was no less than Russell Martin’s side deserved, and they could have left with all three points with Ryan Manning, Olivier Ntcham and Matt Grimes all going close.
Ben Hamer also played his part, making three magnificent saves against his former club.
7 – Olivier Ntcham has more goal contributions than anyone else in a Swansea City shirt this season. His fine finish against Birmingham City in midweek took him level with Joel Piroe on five goals, but the Cameroon international has also chipped in with two assists.
42 – Sticking with Ntcham’s impressive form in the goalscoring stakes, his five goals have come from just 12 shots leaving him with a remarkable 42% goal conversion rate. This is the highest percentage of anyone in the league who has scored five goals or more.
58 – This fixture has been played 58 times since the two teams first met in 1952. Huddersfield hold the advantage in the overall head-to-head having won 25 of the contests. The Swans recent record in west Yorkshire has been better with the visitors losing just once since there since 2007.