Preview | Swansea City v Blackpool
Swansea City return to Championship action looking to start the long haul through the winter and into spring on the right foot against Blackpool.
With three international breaks having briefly halted the Championship campaign so far this term, there is now no respite until the final weeks of March.
By that time, the picture will be very clear in term of who is fighting for which objectives as the final stretch nears.
For now, the focus is simply on looking to produce another positive home result and performance against a Blackpool side who have made an impressive return to the second tier.
Russell Martin’s Swans are seeking a fifth home win in a row, to match a sequence last completed in April 2019, having seen off Huddersfield, Cardiff, West Brom and Peterborough in their last four SA1 fixtures.
However, Neil Critchley’s Seasiders have already claimed impressive scalps on their travels, including those of Middlesbrough and Sheffield United.
It makes for what should be an intriguing contest.
Ryan Bennett will be missing for the hosts as he serves a one-match suspension after picking up a fifth booking of the season in the defeat at Bournemouth.
Head coach Martin otherwise has a full squad to choose from, with no other injury concerns.
Blackpool, meanwhile, are without a number of players due to injury, including keeper and captain Chris Maxwell, defender Richard Keogh and striker Shayne Lavery.
Russell Martin: “Our home form has been fantastic. We really enjoy being at Swansea.com in front of our supporters. They’ve been fantastic for us. They play a massive part.
“Blackpool are a team I've got a lot of respect for. I came up against them twice last year. They're really good at what they do, they are really well coached.
“I'm looking forward to. They play to their strengths and it'll be a tough game, but at home we feel confident.”
Neil Critchley: “You have to take into consideration form, players in form, players playing well, confidence levels, but also the physical state of the players.
“That’s not just in terms of their fitness and whether they’ve had a run of games, but also the emotional aspect of the games as well.
“We put all those things into our decision-making and injuries obviously play a part as well. So all those things go into the pot, if you like.
“We will do that again as staff for the next game and then we’ll decide what we feel is the best thing to do for when we play Swansea City.
“A lot of thought goes into it, but it’s also quite simple and straight-forward in my head because we’ve been doing it for a long time.”
Remember the last time?
Swansea City kept yet another clean sheet as they played out a goalless stalemate on Blackpool’s last competitive visit to SA1 in October 2009.
Dorus De Vries recorded his eighth clean sheet of the campaign as Paulo Sousa’s side extended their unbeaten run to eight games.
But they were disappointed not to claim all three points as Alan Tate – on his 200th league appearance - and Darren Pratley failed to convert big chances, while Craig Beattie had penalty appeals waved away.
At the other end, De Vries denied Jason Euell and Charlie Adam for a Blackpool side who would end up being promoted via the play-offs come the season’s conclusion.
1 – The Swans have conceded just one goal at home during an unbeaten six-match run at the Swansea.com Stadium.
7 – The Swans are seven games without a win against Blackpool, last beating the Seasiders with a 3-2 victory in League One in October 2005.