Preview | Swansea City v Barnsley
Swansea City will look to end a gruelling run of fixtures on a high note when they host Barnsley in their final game before Christmas this afternoon.
The Swans will be looking for some festive cheer following their midweek defeat at Derby, a rare disappointment during what has largely been a consistent and encouraging season to date.
Steve Cooper pulled no punches in his assessment of a lethargic display at Pride Park, and has warned energy levels will need to be significantly higher against a Tykes side who are on a good run of form.
The visitors have won three in a row to climb into the top half of the table, and to within sight of the play-off places as the campaign approaches its halfway point.
But the Swans have been on a good run on home turf, are unbeaten in six games at the Liberty, and will be looking to keep that going as they conclude a sequence of nine games in just 28 days.
Swansea City will again be without Morgan Gibbs-White and George Byers, but have no new injury concerns following the midweek defeat at Derby.
Tivonge Rushesha is a long-term absentee after suffering an ACL injury in training.
Steve Cooper: “They have a lot of young players looking to play on the front foot and they have had good returns from that.
“They’ve had an extra day of rest than us, that’s the fourth time for us in this schedule. We have yet to have an extra day’s rest ourselves but we won’t use that as an excuse although it is an important part of things.
“But we have to be ready as they are an energetic side, and we have to try and match that while putting our stamp on it.
“We do a lot of due diligence on the opposition, we watch a lot of games and will have seen a lot of games before we pick the team.
“We will also be focusing on what we do and trying to make sure that is the most important factor in the game.”
Valerien Ismael: “For the fans it is normal to be excited and they should be happy and proud of the guys. But my job is to stay focused and prepare for the next game.
“It is a very very long season and we can’t make mistakes because we have too much euphoria.
“We are giving everything to reach our target of being safe in the Championship as soon as possible and we are on the way to that.
"It is not our thinking to look at the league table. If we reach our target as quick as possible, and we are still high in the table, we can speak about something else but now we focus on the games one by one.
"We want a big, big gap between us and the teams behind.”
Remember the last time?
Swansea City were held to a goalless draw by Barnsley as they rounded off 2019 at the Liberty Stadium.
After a slow start, Steve Cooper’s side grew into the contest but their best chances saw Sam Surridge hit the bar from distance, while Andre Ayew had a header saved from point-blank range.
The visitors also struck the woodwork, Jacob Brown failing to convert from inside the six-yard box early in the second half as the points were shared.
10 – Swansea City have not lost to Barnsley in the 10 meetings since the sides met in the League One play-off final in 2006.
12 – Despite defeat at Derby, Swansea’s tally of just 12 goals conceded remains the best defensive record in the Championship.
Today we welcome our virtual mascots, Ethan Frias-Robles and Dylan Rees.
Ethan is aged 12, from Dorset and his favourite player is Connor Roberts. Ethan plays football for Sturminster Marshall FC.
Dylan is from Pontarddulais and his favourite player is Jamal Lowe. Dylan has two brothers, and is celebrating his ninth birthday this weekend. Happy Birthday, Dylan!