Preview | Stoke City v Swansea City
Swansea City will look to continue an encouraging period of form when they visit the bet365 Stadium to take on Stoke City this afternoon (3pm).
Steve Cooper’s Swans have lost just one of their last eight league games and ended the last round of second-tier fixtures in the play-off places.
With new signings Rhian Brewster and Conor Gallagher making an impact, and a good run of recent defensive showings, there is plenty to be positive about ahead of a busy February which will see the Swans play seven games.
They round off January against a Stoke side who are in the lower reaches of the table, but who have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes under Michael O’Neill.
They have already won more games (six) in 13 matches under the Northern Ireland boss than they did during Nathan Jones’ entire tenure.
The most recent of those came on Monday where they stunned leaders West Brom at The Hawthorns.
The Potters were also victors in the reverse fixture at the Liberty, meaning Cooper and his men expect a stern test if they are to keep their good run going.
Swansea are boosted by having defender Joe Rodon back in contention after his return to full training.
The 21-year-old is back from an ankle tendon injury, with winger Jordon Garrick also nearing a return.
Mike van der Hoorn remains sidelined but Swansea have no other injury concerns.
Steve Cooper: “I don’t want to speak too soon about things like momentum because we know what this league is like.
“Whatever is in front of us we try and deal with it exactly the same. Consistency is a real key aspect to this league.
“It’s really important to focus on what’s next, we’ve got a tough game against Stoke.
“We won’t be playing the position in the league, we’re playing the team in front of us.
“You look at Stoke’s team on paper and it’s right up there in terms of experience and quality.”
Michael O’Neill: “We come up against another good side, Swansea have ambitions in terms of the play-offs, but we have to take confidence from our good form and our result on Monday against West Brom.
"It was a performance filled with desire that we will want to match in front of our own supporters and we will be pushing to get all three points.
“In the Championship, if we can get momentum or pull a string of three or four results together then our situation can quite quickly change.
“Look at Middlesbrough, they beat us and went on a run themselves which has bumped them up the table, so this weekend brings a big opportunity for us.”
Remember the last time?
The Swans went down 1-0 at Stoke City as Joe Allen's controversial second-half goal inflicted a first away defeat of the season on Graham Potter's side
Former Swan Allen tucked home in the 57th minute, but only when Tom Ince's shot deflected off Benik Afobe - who looked offside - and into the path of the Welsh international, who was definitely offside.
It was harsh on the Swans, who had battled bravely at the bet365 Stadium.
They so nearly snatched a point late on, as Jack Butland tipped over Oli McBurnie’s dipping volley, before Mike van der Hoorn headed over the bar.
4 – Swansea City have kept four clean sheets in their last six Championship fixtures.
19 – The Swans are chasing a first win at Stoke in 19 years, last winning in the Potteries in 2001 thanks to a 2-1 victory under the guidance of John Hollins.