Preview: Nottingham Forest v Swans

30th March 2019
First team

Swansea City return to Championship action against Nottingham Forest today (3pm) as the final run-in of 10 games kicks off after the international break.

Graham Potter's men get back down to business two weeks on from their FA Cup heroics in nearly pulling off a stunning giant-killing against Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the famous knockout competition.

Defeat to the Citizens means the Swans have lost three in a row, but there have been clear signs in those performances of a side making strides in its ongoing development.

The challenge - as the manager himself has said - is to make sure positive performances yield a tangible reward in the league table.

And, regardless of what the play-off picture looks like come the start of May, a strong end to the season would provide a real sense of optimism going into the off-season.

Swansea are currently 10 points off the play-offs - although with six of their last nine games at home - while their hosts this afternoon are just three adrift.

Like the Swans, Forest have struggled for consistency but know that if they can put a run of form together over these closing weeks then a top-six place is there to be grasped.

All of which means an intriguing afternoon lies ahead in the East Midlands.

Team news

The Swans are boosted by the return of topscorer Oli McBurnie after the striker missed the games against Norwich, West Brom and Manchester City through illness.

Defender Joe Rodon could also make his comeback from a broken metatarsal after returning to training this week.

But Potter will be without goalkeeper Erwin Mulder, who has suffered a broken finger which is set to keep him sidelined until the end of the season.

He joins Leroy Fer (hamstring) and Martin Olsson (Achilles) on the sidelines.

Pre-match views

Graham Potter: "I feel we have made some progress, we have had three defeats but the performances have been good.

"The challenge for us is to turn those performances into results. We are not naive and we know we have to do that.

"That's where we are at, but there have been some positive signs.

"It's going to be an intense period coming up, 10 games in six weeks but we cannot worry too much about what might happen in six weeks time, we have to focus on the here and now."

Nathan Dyer: "Forest are a massive club with a lot of history. It’s going to be good to go back there and relive old memories against a good side. Hopefully, we can play well and get the three points."

Martin O'Neill: "We feel refreshed and ready to go. Whatever fitness you have at this stage of the season will carry you through and the players are ready for that." 

Remember the last time?

The Swans last visited the City Ground was in May 2011 for the first leg of the Championship play-off semi-final between the two teams.

While most members of the Jack Army remember the incredible scenes at the Liberty after the second leg, none of that would have been possible without a superb rearguard action in Nottingham.

The visitors suffered an early blow when Neil Taylor was dismissed inside two minutes by referee Mike Dean following a foul on Lewis McGugan.

But Brendan Rodgers' men were unbowed and actually created the better chances during the opening half.

The hosts piled on the pressure after the break, but superb defending and excellent goalkeeping from Dorus De Vries gave Swansea a priceless clean sheet.

Prime numbers

0 - Forest boss Martin O'Neill has yet to lose a league fixture against Swansea City. His solitary defeat to the Swans came in the Football League Trophy when he was at Wycombe back in 1994.

41 - The return to fitness of Oli McBurnie is a boost for the Swans as they have won 41 per cent of the games in which the Scotland international has started. Without him their win percentage is just 17.