Preview: Swans v QPR

29th September 2018
First team

​​​​​​​Swansea City will look to make home advantage count when they face Queens Park Rangers this afternoon (3pm).

The Swans are 14th in the early-season Championship table having made a promising start to life under Graham Potter.

Their form on the road has been impressive, with eight points banked from five games – with just one unfortunate defeat along the way – so far in 2018-19.

That travelling points return is as good as any in the division, but it has been a different story on home soil in the opening stages of the Potter era.

The Swans have banked five points from their four league fixtures at the Liberty Stadium this season.

They won their opening home game, against Preston North End, before producing a fine display against Leeds when they were unfortunate to come away with only a point.

But the Swans were beaten by Bristol City thanks to a lacklustre performance and they battled to a goalless draw against Nottingham Forest last time out in SA1.

The numbers suggest the Swans must do better on their own patch, for only four Championship clubs have taken fewer home points at this stage.

Potter’s men will hope an upturn begins today as they face a QPR side who began the season poorly but have since found some form.

Rangers lost their first four league games of the campaign, then took 10 points from the next 12 on offer as they beat Wigan, Bolton and Millwall and drew at Birmingham.

But Steve McClaren’s team will be looking for a response today having lost 1-0 at home to Norwich last weekend and seen a much-changed side go down 2-0 at Blackpool in the Carabao Cup in midweek.

The key to this afternoon’s game could be who finds some inspiration in attack, for the Swans and QPR have managed just seven league goals apiece so far.

 

TEAM NEWS

The Swans are expecting Leroy Fer and Bersant Celina to play some part, which represents a major boost for Potter.

Should Fer and Celina be involved, only Wilfried Bony, Jefferson Montero and Joel Asoro - who got injured playing for the under-23s on Wednesday - will be missing as Courtney Baker-Richardson is available again after a ban.

QPR are hoping Swans legend Angel Rangel and Geoff Cameron will be fit to feature despite missing their last two games.

Defender Grant Hall is building his fitness after a long-term knee problem, while winger Olamide Shadipo and right-back Darnell Furlong are out.

Midfielder Jordan Cousins will be suspended after being sent off at Blackpool on Tuesday.

 

PRE-MATCH VIEWS

Erwin Mulder: "We have shown that we are a tough team to break down in away games. Now a good run of results at home will really help us move up the table."

Angel Rangel: “It’s going to be difficult coming back. I’ve spent more than a third of my life in Swansea. My children were born in Swansea, I was married there and my home is there. The club means everything to me.”

 

REMEMBER THE LAST TIME?

The Swans’ most recent encounter with Rangers came in January 2016 at Loftus Road, when Wilfried Bony scored a late equaliser for the 10-man visitors after then Hoops midfielder Leroy Fer had put his team in front with a spectacular goal.

Wayne Routledge was controversially sent off – the red card was later rescinded – in that game after reacting to a poor tackle from Karl Henry, but Bony’s good footwork saw him find the target in his final appearance before a move to Manchester City.

The Swans’ last home game against Rangers was just a month earlier. Routledge scored that day along with Ki Sung-Yueng as Garry Monk’s team secured a 2-0 win.

PRIME NUMBERS

7 – The Swans are unbeaten in seven home games against Queens Park Rangers stretching back to 1981.

6 – The Swans have conceded only six league goals so far this season, giving them the second best defensive record in the Championship.