Preview | Swansea City v Birmingham City
Swansea City will be looking to extend their best start to a season in 41 years when they face Birmingham City today (12pm).
Steve Cooper has enjoyed a dream start to his time as Swans head coach, picking up three wins and a draw from their first four fixtures, as well as booking a place in the second round of the Carabao Cup.
It is the best beginning to a campaign since the 1978-79 season, before 39-year-old Cooper was even born.
And the feelgood factor in SA1 is only added to by an unbeaten 13-match run of league fixtures on home turf.
But Birmingham – with ex-Swans’ assistant boss Pep Clotet at the helm – travel in good spirits having beaten Barnsley in midweek and looking to continue their own solid start to the 2019-20 season.
All of which points to a hard-fought contest in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
Nathan Dyer and Aldo Kalulu are set to miss out on the clash with the Blues as they continue to recover from injuries.
The wingers were injured in the victory over Preston last weekend, and were forced to sit out the midweek win over QPR.
Dyer suffered a hamstring problem, while Kalulu has been nursing an ankle issue.
Tom Carroll is nearing a return to first-team action having got 45 minutes under his belt for the under-23s against Aston Villa on Monday.
Steve Cooper: “I think we can play well and win any game.
“That isn’t always the case because football isn’t that easy but we’ve got into every game knowing with the right plan, if we get it right, we are good enough to win the game.
“That will continue in every game we play. There’s no point setting up negatively or playing for draws.
“We are a footballing team and, if we get it right, we will be dominating possession.
“It is hard to do that and it won’t always go our way but that will always be our first idea.”
Pep Clotet: “We know it is a very difficult game. They have Premier League experience and they want to be at the top of this league.
“It’s special for me, I worked there for many years. I had good relationships with people there. It is a place I love and a club I love.
“They play with a lot of confidence, which is the best weapon they have, but we have to play to our strengths and try and play to our best.”
Remember the last time?
Oli McBurnie scored a last-gasp equaliser to earn the Swans a share of the spoils in a six-goal thriller against 10-man Birmingham City at the Liberty.
The Swans, who lost captain Leroy Fer through injury after 16 minutes, were on the brink of defeat as the game ticked deep into injury time, with Garry Monk looking set to make a winning return to his former club.
But up popped McBurnie to score his second of the night as he directed Mike van der Hoorn’s header past Lee Camp with seconds remaining.
McBurnie had set up Daniel James for the opening goal after 22 minutes, but the Blues levelled through Jacques Maghoma.
The visitors were down to 10 men when Kristian Pedersen saw red before the break, but it didn’t stop them from pushing forward.
Just three minutes after Morrison’s equaliser, Che Adams curled in a stunning strike from 20 yards which left Erwin Mulder stranded.
But the drama didn’t end there, with the Liberty erupting as McBurnie tucked home his 15th goal of the season.
13 – Swansea City are unbeaten in 13 home league games. Should they avoid defeat against the Blues this will standalone as their longest sequence without defeat at home since 2000.
41 – This is also Swansea City’s best start to a season since the 1978-79 season, when John Toshack was starting his first full season at the helm.