Preview | Rotherham United v Swansea City
Swansea City hit the road again as they look to end another demanding week with a positive result at Rotherham this afternoon (3pm).
The Swans have made the long journey to South Yorkshire on the back of a hard-fought draw against Brentford in midweek; showing great character to recover from a goal and a man down and then see out a wave of heavy late pressure.
Much focus was placed on the importance of that clash against the Bees given the tight battle near the top of the Championship table.
But head coach Steve Cooper has been quick to point out that the reward for a win remains the same regardless of the opponent, and he expects a tough assignment against a Millers side who have been on a good run themselves.
Since pushing Everton to extra-time in the FA Cup, Paul Warne’s men have won at Derby and Middlesbrough, and drawn against Stoke.
They remain in the relegation zone, but have games in hand on all the sides around them and their league position has not been representative of a number of their displays.
However, the Swans travel with confidence and an eight-match unbeaten run behind them, keen to keep pushing on and keep their hands on an automatic promotion spot.
Kyle Naughton is suspended having seen red in that draw against Brentford, while Swansea are waiting to discover the extent of calf and ankle injuries suffered by Wayne Routledge and Liam Cullen in the FA Cup win over Nottingham Forest.
Korey Smith is set to miss out again with the quad injury that kept him out in midweek.
Steven Benda, Brandon Cooper and Tivonge Rushesha remain on the sidelines following serious injuries.
Steve Cooper: “It’s a completely different challenge for us, and they are doing well and have had a really good result against Middlesbrough in midweek.
“So, it will be a tough game, but that is no surprise in this league. It’s a quick turnaround, we have played Wednesday and Rotherham is obviously not just around the corner from Swansea.
“But we will get on with that and get ready, there’s no doubt it’s right to call it a tough game. We have to be ready for it.
“I have a massive respect for them and how they go about their work.
“But, as I say, we have to focus on ourselves. There will be a cause at stake for every side in every game that is remaining this season.
“We have to make sure we are ready to fight for ours.”
Paul Warne: “Overall performances have been great. We were pretty dominant in midweek.
“The lads have been really good, we have never lacked belief and the team have our complete trust and belief.
“We are in a good place, we have some of our best players coming back.
“At this moment in time, you cannot waste a day. I don’t want them to regret anything. To think ‘if I only I had run a bit harder, or if I had done this or that’.
“They are putting everything out there at the moment, and now we have to get ready for a very different, and very difficult, game against Swansea.”
Remember the last time?
The stunned Swans were left cursing their luck at the New York Stadium as Rotherham snatched victory with two controversial late penalties from Ryan Manning on their last visit in November 2018.
The Swans dominated most of the game as Oli McBurnie fired home his seventh of the season in the 25th minute from Daniel James' cross.
But the visitors paid the price for not putting the game to bed while they were well on top and two late penalties from Manning gave a grateful Rotherham all three points.
4 – Swansea City have lost just four of the last 25 meetings between the sides dating back to 1991, winning eight and drawing 13.
8 – Swansea have played eight Championship fixtures in Yorkshire since Steve Cooper was appointed, and lost just one of them at Middlesbrough earlier this season. There have been three wins and four draws from the remaining seven of those games.
Today we welcome our virtual mascots, Annabelle England and Leo Goulding.
Annabelle is aged seven, comes from Aberdare, and her favourite player is Freddie Woodman.
Leo is aged one, comes from Swansea, and his favourite player is Jamal Lowe.
Leo is currently in hospital on a life support machine having suffered heart failure while awaiting a transplant.
Leo, his sister Erin, and his family always watch the Swans together, and they will do so again today from Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, with Leo wearing the Swansea kit bought for him by his uncle Craig.
Leo, everyone at Swansea City is thinking of you and your family in these tough times, and are hoping you are able to return to full health soon.