Preview | Sheffield United v Swansea City
Swansea City will look to build on the feelgood factor of their second-half fightback against Bristol City when they take on Sheffield United at Bramall Lane this afternoon (3pm).
Russell Martin’s side bounced back from their Stoke disappointment with a 3-1 win over the Robins, recovering from a half-time deficit in fine style.
They now face a stern test with a trip to take on one of the division’s form sides in the Blades, who have lost just one of their last 12 Championship games to put themselves firmly in the play-off mix.
But the Swans have shown they can defy the pundits’ predictions already this season, notably against the likes of Coventry, West Brom, Huddersfield and Blackburn.
Head coach Martin will hope to see his side embrace the opportunity in south Yorkshire.
The Swans have Ryan Bennett back from suspension to bolster Russell Martin’s defensive options.
However, Kyle Naughton remains sidelined with a thigh injury, although the experienced defender is closing in on a return to action.
New signing Nathanael Ogbeta will also be absent against the Blades as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury.
Russell Martin: “In every game you take into context in terms of league positions and the form.
“Coming up we have Sheffield United then West Brom – who are under a new manager - Fulham and Bournemouth, you don’t need to say much with the position they are in and what they did in January in terms of business.
“So yeah it’s going to be a tough game, but what an exciting challenge for us.
“You have to embrace the opportunity, it’s an opportunity to see how far we’ve come, it’s an opportunity to show that on our day we can be a really good team against anyone in the league.
“Whenever we’ve played against teams in really good form, take away Bournemouth and Fulham probably, but we played West Brom and they were flying high in the league, Coventry when they were on a really good run, Huddersfield away when they were on a really good run and we performed brilliantly in all three.
“Now we face a team I think who are in the best form in the league in Sheffield United, Paul has done a fantastic job since he has taken over, but it’s a really exciting challenge for the guys, it’s a real chance to grow together and see what we are capable of.
“There’s no fear, I don’t think people out of the building will expect us to get too much out of the games, but we will, we will go into the and make sure that is the mentality.”
Paul Heckingbottom: “Swansea are a difficult team to play against, they like to dominate the ball and frustrate by having possession.
“I can't see them playing any other way. We are one of the two teams who have had the most possession so someone is going to have to have less than normal.
“We'll respect that and know what they are going to bring, but we are at home and want to play with the same tempo and control the game like the other night.”
Remember the last time?
Yan Dhanda scored with his first touch in senior football as the Swans came from behind to give boss Graham Potter a winning start to his reign on their last visit to Bramall Lane.
The Swans had to come from behind in south Yorkshire after George Baldock’s 62nd-minute goal gave Sheffield United the lead.
Oli McBurnie ensured the Swans were back level within nine minutes as he fired home his first league goal for the club.
Then, after only being on the pitch for 29 seconds, Dhanda popped up with a thrilling late winner as he netted from close range.
4 – The Swans are unbeaten in their last four games against the Blades, winning three and drawing one, with an aggregate goal count of seven to one in their favour.
64.7 – Swansea City and Sheffield United are two of the top three sides in the Championship when it comes to share of possession, with Fulham the sole interloper. The Swans average percentage of 64.7 is the best in the division.