Preview: Stoke v Swans

18th September 2018
First team

Swansea City face the first of two testing away trips when they go to Stoke City tonight (8pm).

The Swans head to the Potteries having maintained their early-season momentum by grinding out a goalless draw with Nottingham Forest last Saturday.

Graham Potter’s team were not at their best in the Forest clash.

But not for the first time this season, the manager could take heart from the way his players battled their way to a positive result in trying circumstances.

The spirit and desire which have been so apparent in the early stages of the season will be required once more this evening – and at Middlesbrough on Saturday – as the Swans take on two of the Championship’s big spenders on their own grounds.

The Swans’ cause is not helped by a notable list of absentees, with midfield a particular concern.

Potter could have done with having all his players available with two demanding away games to come in a short space of time.

But his team have proved already in 2018-19 that they are capable of getting results in the face of adversity.

They will look to do the same tonight against a Stoke side who are yet to hit top gear this season but have a squad full of proven performers.

 

TEAM NEWS

Stoke are set to be without winger James McClean after he broke a bone in his hand while on international duty.

Ex-Swan Sam Clucas, meantime, is yet to play following his summer move from the Liberty following a knee operation.

Leroy Fer, Jefferson Montero and Wilfried Bony will miss out for the Swans along with the suspended Courtney Baker-Richardson.

And there also has concerns over Jay Fulton (sickness), Tom Carroll (hip) and Bersant Celina (ankle).

 

PRE-MATCH VIEWS

Graham Potter: “We are playing a good team who are moving forward and it’s a tough place to go, so it will be a big test for us.”

Stoke striker Benik Afobe: The lads have gelled during the international break and we will go again on Tuesday and show everyone what we can do.”

 

REMEMBER THE LAST TIME

The Swans’ most recent trip to Stoke was in December last year, when Wilfried Bony scored a fine early goal to put Paul Clement’s team in front.

However, Xherdan Shaqiri levelled for the home side on 36 minutes and Mame Biram Diouf scored what proved to be the winner before half-time.

That was the Swans’ seventh successive winless trip to Stoke, with their last win there coming in a third-tier game back in 2001.

 

PRIME NUMBERS

0 – The Swans are yet to lose on the road this season, having beaten Sheffield United and Millwall and held on for a draw at Birmingham. Only three other Championship sides – Leeds, Bristol City and Bolton – remain unbeaten on their travels.

59 – Swans boss Potter made 59 appearances for Stoke between 1993 and 1996 after joining from first club Birmingham. He left the club for the top flight, signing for Southampton.