Preview | Queens Park Rangers v Swansea City
Swansea City switch their attentions to the FA Cup this weekend, looking to build on a winning start to 2020.
Victory over Charlton in midweek saw the Swans climb back into the Championship play-off places after a positive festive period in which they suffered just one defeat from six games.
They will want to try and keep that momentum going as they head to face QPR at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
The Swans were winners in west London back in August, claiming an impressive 3-1 win.
But they will be aware of the attacking threat QPR can pose. The Rs are one of the second-tier’s highest scorers and recently inflicted a 6-1 defeat on Cardiff.
They also have one of the highest goals against tallies in the division, meaning there could well be an entertaining contest in prospect.
And, having reached the quarter-finals in each of the last two seasons, Swansea will know how much a winning run in knock-out football can have a positive impact on league form.
Head coach Cooper may well look to rotate his squad on the back of a hectic festive schedule which has seen games come thick and fast.
Mike van der Hoorn is likely to miss out after a recurrence of his knee injury, while Joe Rodon and Jordon Garrick remain sidelined.
Ben Wilmot is unavailable due to the terms of his loan agreement which could mean a first-team opportunity for Brandon Cooper in defence.
Steve Cooper: “We had a good day down at QPR earlier in the season, they are a fellow Championship team so they are a familiar opposition.
“Mark Warburton plays a good brand of football so it’s got the makings of a good game and one we look forward to it.
“It’s certainly not a hindrance. It’s about having the resilience to keep going and you get better through putting your work on the training pitch into practice on game day.
“We want to get to the next round, and it’s another chance to improve.”
Mark Warburton: “This team has good character, a good work ethic, a lot of desire and the recent results haven’t reflected the quality of our performances.
“We have to make sure this team gets their rewards because if we do then the belief grows.
“If we can create high-quality chances then we are a good team and come the end of the season we’ll be in a good place if we keep creating them.”
Remember the last time?
Swansea City maintained their unbeaten start to life under Steve Cooper with a fine victory at QPR back in August, thanks to goals from Bersant Celina, Borja Baston and Sam Surridge.
The Swans had taken a first-half lead when Celina raced in on goal to calmly fire the visitors ahead.
But the home side levelled through Jordan Hugill after he glanced a header home just past the hour mark.
However, substitute Jordon Garrick – on his league debut – won a penalty which Borja converted, before Surridge headed in his first Swansea goal to seal the win.
This was just Swansea’s third away win in the league in 2019, and put April’s 4-0 defeat at the same venue firmly in the rearview mirror.
3 – Having reached the quarter-finals in each of the last two seasons, a repeat this term would be the first time the Swans have progressed so far in three consecutive seasons.
7 – This is the seventh season in succession in which the Swans have been drawn away from home in the third round. Their last home tie at this stage came against Arsenal in 2013.