Preview | Stoke City v Swansea City
Swansea City will look to use the resilience and character shown in victory over Blackburn as a springboard for another positive performance and result at Stoke tonight (7.45pm).
Despite being a man down for the final 37 minutes plus stoppage time at the weekend, Russell Martin’s side dug in and battled their way to three points against an in-form Rovers side.
Those same qualities will be required when they head to Stoke, where Swansea’s only win in the last 21 years came in dramatic fashion in March of last year.
The bet365 Stadium has not been a happy hunting ground for the visitors, but they will be looking to change that and string results together after winning two, drawing two and losing two of their last six.
The hosts will be looking to revive their play-off hopes after a run of two wins in 10 in the league, which has seen them slide six points off the top six.
Kyle Naughton is set to miss out again for the Swans with the thigh injury he picked up against Luton, while Ryan Manning is suspended after his red card against Blackburn.
Head coach Russell Martin has suggested he could make changes given the relentless schedule his side have recently faced as they make up the games in hand they have following a series of postponements in December and early January.
Andy Fisher: “As a squad we know our level hasn’t been up to scratch, but beating a team that are second in the league whilst being a man down shows what level we can get to,” he said.
“We stuck with it, the team spirit was up there and we ground out the result.
“It’s massive for me with a clean sheet but I don’t want to take any credit for that because the lads in front were unbelievable all game.
“They limited their (Blackburn) chances for the whole game, even when we had 10 men.
“I am delighted with the three points on the back of a few bad results, so it is massive for us and the fans, but we just have to keep going now.”
Michael O’Neill: “Having guys available makes the squad stronger. Nick (Powell) has had a couple of cameo performances coming off the bench and it was good to get him a start in the cup. We have to manage him a little bit because we’ve got a heavy schedule coming up.
“It was good for Josef (Bursik) to play. He’s had a frustrating time and the nature of how he was injured whilst warming up with England’s Under-21s and having to miss three months of first-team football is challenging for any young player.
“The squad will get stronger. We’ve got Romaine Sawyers and Mario Vrancic to come back in as well so those are all positives for us.”
Remember the last time?
Andre Ayew’s last-gasp penalty saw Swansea City come from behind to beat Stoke City and secure a first victory at the bet365 Stadium since 2001 on their last visit to the Potters in March 2021.
The Swans had trailed early on to a Nick Powell strike, but responded well and levelled when Connor Roberts met Ryan Manning’s cross to score his fourth goal of the season.
And Ayew sealed all three points in the dying seconds of stoppage time, converting nervelessly from the spot after Jack Clarke had brought down Kyle Naughton.
The result left the Swans fourth in the table, one point behind the automatic promotion places having played two games fewer than the sides above them.
5 – Stoke has not traditionally proved a happy hunting ground for the Swans, who have five wins from 33 visits to the Potteries in all competition.
5 – Jamie Paterson’s fifth assist of the season against Blackburn puts him clear at the top of the pile when it comes to setting up goals this season. He had previously been tied with Ryan Manning and Joel Piroe on four.