Preview: Swans v Preston North End
Swansea City will look to build on their opening-day triumph at Sheffield United when Graham Potter takes charge of his first home game today.
The Swans face Preston North End (3pm) in their maiden Liberty Stadium fixture of 2018-19, and it promises to be a stern examination for Potter’s youthful squad.
The Lilywhites are an established Championship side who came within a couple of points of reaching the play-offs last season.
Alex Neil’s team are hoping to go one better this term, and they got off to the perfect start last weekend as they beat Queens Park Rangers 1-0 at Deepdale.
Now Preston, like the Swans, will aim to make it six points from six.
Both teams could field new recruits this weekend. The Swans signed Declan John from Rangers on deadline day, while Preston have added two youngsters on loan from Manchester City, Lukas Nmecha and Brandon Barker.
John could be one of five home debutants for the Swans, who are expected to include Joel Asoro, Barrie McKay, Bersant Celina and Bramall Lane matchwinner Yan Dhanda in their 18.
The Swans have a fine home record against Preston down the years, winning 12 and drawing five of their 17 SA1 encounters since a 2-1 defeat at Vetch Field back in 1961.
The challenge is to extend that unbeaten streak this afternoon.
With Federico Fernandez and Jordi Amat gone, the Swans are short of senior central defenders.
The good news is that Kyle Naughton is back in contention after a groin problem, while Asoro is available despite limping out of open training this week.
Preston are without last season’s leading scorer, Sean Maguire, while Welshman Billy Bodin is out long term.
But the Lilywhites are optimistic that skipper Tom Clarke will play even though he was forced off with a head injury last weekend.
Graham Potter: “It’s about the players and the supporters and trying to create an environment here and an atmosphere here. We need to have togetherness and belief because that will help us win matches.”
Leroy Fer: “The fans can be our 12th man. Everyone who loves Swansea has to try to be one.”
Alex Neil: “I watched Swansea on Saturday. They keep the ball and have good technicians.”
REMEMBER THE LAST TIME?
The Swans last faced Preston in April 2011, when Brendan Rodgers’s team were pushing for promotion to the Premier League.
They were beaten 2-1 on a disappointing afternoon at Deepdale, with Iain Hume scoring early and then late on after Ashley Williams had levelled for the visitors.
It was a different story earlier in the season at the Liberty, however, as Preston were thumped 4-0.
Stephen Dobbie, Darren Pratley, Nathan Dyer and David Cotterill were all on target as Scott Sinclair impressed on debut for the Swans.
3 – The Swans ended last season with three consecutive home defeats. They have not lost four in a row on their own patch since 1991.
2 – Graham Potter is aiming to become the first Swans manager since Michael Laudrup to win his first two games in charge.