PREVIEW: Middlesbrough v Swansea City
17th December 2016
Swansea City make the trip north this weekend to face Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.
Both sides suffered defeats midweek and will be keen for a return to winning ways in the Premier League.
Following their 3-0 victory over Sunderland last Saturday, the Swans suffered a 3-1 defeat at West Brom on Wednesday night, while Middlesbrough were beaten 3-0 by Liverpool.
Three points for the Swans would see the Swans leapfrog Aitor Karanka's side in the top flight, while defeat would see the gap stretch to five points.
But Boro have proven a tough side to break down, having conceded just 19 goals so far this season.
At the other end, however, the Teeside outfit have scored just 13 times - the lowest amount of any team in the Premier League.
Once again, the Swans will be without Ki Sung-Yueng and Federico Fernandez this afternoon as the duo continue their recovery from broken toes.
The hosts, meanwhile, will assess the fitness of George Friend, who has returned to training after a knee problem, while fellow defender Calum Chambers has been passed fit.
Gaston Ramirez is an injury doubt for Boro but Cristhian Stuani has been ruled out.
WHAT THEY SAID
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka: "Tomorrow is a really important game for us.
"The main thing for us is to be as organised as we can be because they are a dangerous team - they score a lot of goals.
"But we have to take advantage when we have the ball because, it's true, they concede goals."
Swans boss Bob Bradley: "You look at the table and games against teams that are closer to you do take on more importance.
"But I think we can all agree that every game is massive for us right now.
"We understand that the start to the season we have had and the league position we are in make it extra important every time we step on to the field.
"If we can put a little bit of a run together at some point, then all of a sudden we would be out of the bottom three."
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
Swansea City 1-0 Middlesbrough (December 2012)
Middlesbrough 3-4 Swansea City (February 2011)
Swansea City 1-0 Middlesbrough (November 2010)
Middlesbrough 1-1 Swansea City (January 2010)
Swansea City 0-3 Middlesbrough (August 2009)
1982 - This will be the first top-flight meeting between these two clubs since May 1982.
1 - Swansea have won each of their last three competitive meetings with Middlesbrough, all by a one goal margin (1-0, 4-3, 1-0).
16 - Only Southampton's St. Mary's Stadium (13 goals) has witnessed fewer Premier League goals this season than Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium (16).