Preview: Swans v Newcastle
2nd March 2013
The Swans return to Barclays Premier League action this weekend as they welcome Newcastle to the Liberty Stadium (3pm).
Michael Laudrup's men come face to face with the North East club just six days after their historic win at Wembley that brought the club their first major trophy.
That 5-0 win over Bradford saw the Swans win the Capital One Cup and, in the club's centenary year, they could be poised for an even better league finish.
Last season the Swans finished 11th in the top flight with 47 points, but Laudrup has called on his players to finish the campaign strongly by registering more points and place in the top half of the table.
The remaining 11 games begins with the visit of a resurgent Newcastle who, after a tough few months, have rediscovered their form under Alan Pardew.
Swansea inflicted a damaging 2-1 defeat at St James' Park back in November - a result which started Newcastle's run of just two wins in 11 league games.
That saw them slide down towards the relegation zone but after a busy January transfer window which saw no less than five Frenchmen arrive through the doors, Newcastle have won three out of their last four games to see them rise to 13th.
The Magpies will be hoping for more of the same in South Wales following last season's 2-0 win at the Liberty, courtesy of two goals from Papiss Cisse.
The Swans are without the injured Chico Flores, who continues to recover from ankle ligament damage suffered in the win over QPR three weeks ago.
Newcastle will be missing goalkeeper Tim Krul after the Dutchman was ruled out for five weeks with an ankle injury.
Meanwhile, captain Fabricio Coloccini is a doubt after hurting his back in last weekend's win over Southampton, while Hatem Ben Arfa is struggling after returning from a hamstring problem.
What they said
Swans boss Michael Laudrup: "We have been competitive the whole season, so we can't stop now.
"We still have 11 games to go and each one will have its own story. We have to play the top five and teams who are struggling at the bottom.
"But we can't stop being competitive - if we do that then we could lose every game. I still think we can reach 50 points and I think we can improve on last season's position."
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew: "I think Swansea are a great club and they set a great agenda. The board have done well there. They've had good managers, and they've got their just desserts for an ambitious style.
"I think they know they're coming up against a different Newcastle (from the reverse fixture in November). I've got great players to put in this team now. They'll be as worried about us as we are about them."
Head to head
Newcastle have lost just once in their last eight games against Swansea, which was a 2-1 at St James' Park back in November.
Last season's corresponding fixture saw Newcastle come away from the Liberty with all three points following a 2-0 win.
The last two teams to win the League Cup (Liverpool and Birmingham) lost their first league games after lifting the trophy
The Swans have won none of the 14 games they have fallen behind in this season
Only Arsenal (7 games) and Swansea (5) have gone on to win all of the matches they have been leading in at half-time
Newcastle have conceded exactly two goals in each of their last three games but have won two of those matches
The Magpies have taken nine points from their last four matches after taking only seven from the previous 13
Moussa Sissoko has scored three goals in four Premier League appearances
32Red odds: Swans 12/11 Newcastle 27/10 Draw 27/11