Preview | Stevenage v Swansea City
Swansea City kick-off their FA Cup campaign at Stevenage this afternoon (3pm) looking to carry on the momentum from a positive run of results over Christmas and New Year.
The Swans took 10 points from a possible 12 during the festive period, with wins over Barnsley, Queens Park Rangers and Watford – plus a draw against Reading – propelling them to second place in the Championship table.
But it is knock-out advancement rather than league points at stake at the Lamex Stadium today, with the Swans travelling to face League Two Stevenage in Hertfordshire.
Alex Revell’s side sit within the lower reaches of their table – having received a reprieve from relegation last term – but they have shown signs of an improvement in recent weeks, and head into the contest on the back of consecutive wins.
They earned their place in the third-round courtesy of a penalty shoot-out win over Hull City, and will be relishing the chance to claim another notable scalp in their own backyard on the 10th anniversary of their famous win over Newcastle in 2011.
All of which means Cooper and his players will be in no doubt of the need to show the sort of focus and mentality that has helped them through a gruelling first half of the season.
Kyle Naughton is back in contention for Swansea City following a side strain, but Ryan Bennett and Joel Latibueadiere remain sidelined by hamstring and calf injuries respectively.
Brandon Cooper – recalled from his loan spell at Newport earlier this week – is cup-tied.
Head coach Cooper has hinted at changes, but wholesale alterations are unlikely.
Steve Cooper: “I don’t see it as a problem, it’s the FA Cup and we want to be in it.
“We need to win on Saturday, that’s the most important thing and we will show maximum respect to Stevenage.
“If we get through and we have a bridge to cross, it won’t be a problem.
“I think there’ll be some changes. I don’t think it’ll be wholesale. All of the squad will go to Stevenage because I think we're in good momentum.
“Regardless of it being the league or cup, we just want to keep things going to keep everybody engaged.
“We just want to keep improving and striving to get better. We want to win and play well."
Alex Revell: "It’s the FA Cup and anything can happen.
“It is a great game for us to have because we can go into it knowing that we’ve given a week of good performances and results, seven points from three games is great.
"But we don’t want to lose the momentum so it is important that we carry on with those performances and that we keep learning.
"Every day we are learning and the players are showing that on the pitch now and we are really looking forward to the challenge."
Remember the last time?
The last time the Swans headed to face Stevenage was back in October 2002, when the sides met in a LDV Vans first-round tie.
The visitors had looked to be on course for victory when James Thomas headed them into the lead on the stroke of half-time.
But the game turned when the striker – who would be the hat-trick hero in the vital win over Hull at the end of that season – failed to convert a close-range volley.
Stevenage roared back and quickfire goals from Kirk Jackson and Richard Pacquette ensured it was the Conference side who advanced.
6 – Swansea City have reached the fourth round in six of their last 10 attempts.
8 – The last time the Swans faced League Two opposition in the FA Cup they knocked out Notts County in 2018, drawing the original tie before winning the replay 8-1.