Preview | Swansea City v Brentford
Familiar foes will lock horns once more tonight as Swansea City host Brentford in an important fixture at the top of the Championship.
Remarkably, these sides have faced each other on eight occasions since December 2018, and there has been a noticeable edge to recent meetings.
Of those eight games, the Swans have won four and drawn one, with Brentford winning the other three, and the two sides are again firmly ensconced in the upper reaches of the Championship.
The Swans started the week second in the table, with Brentford in fourth, two points behind but with a game in hand.
All of which underlines the feeling that the outcome tonight could be a key staging post as the battle to remain firmly in the promotion mix heats up with the halfway point of the season now in the rearview mirror.
The Swans are unbeaten in 10 games on their own turf, and have lost just one of their last 11 fixtures in all competitions.
Brentford, meanwhile, have not tasted defeat in 16 games in the second tier, and this is an eagerly-anticipated clash between two of the division’s form teams.
Given the history of thrilling meetings between the sides down the years, this is one you will not want to miss.
Liam Cullen and Wayne Routledge are doubts for the Swans after picking up knocks against Nottingham Forest at the weekend.
But new signing Jordan Morris is available to be involved for the first time following his move from Seattle.
Steven Benda, Brandon Cooper and Tivonge Rushesha are sidelined by long-term injuries, but Ryan Bennett returned from his hamstring problem against Forest.
Steve Cooper: “We are looking forward, we are a different set of players and a different group to what we were at the start of the season as we want to keep building.
“We are still in that process, but nothing has been achieved, we are a long way away from where I want us to be.
“We focus on ourselves and go through the normal process of getting ready.
“We know every game has its context, but at home the focus has to be on being ready to perform.”
Thomas Frank: “One of our strongest assets is we have a clear style of play, we know what we want in each position.
“It means that when players have to come in, we can still try and do things the same way and that is always pleasing to see.
“I think we are getting better, we are playing more of the football I believe we can play.
“But we have to keep working hard, because you cannot achieve anything without it.”
Remember the last time?
Swansea City took the advantage in their play-off semi-final against Brentford, thanks to Andre Ayew’s late winner at the Liberty Stadium back in July of last year.
With the Swans having been involved in a night of huge drama at Reading a few days earlier, there was no shortage of incident to be found in this first leg either.
Ayew was denied from the penalty spot in the second half after Pontus Jansson had fouled Rhian Brewster.
Moments later Brentford had Rico Henry sent off, and Steve Cooper’s side made the most of the opportunity when Ayew dispatched his 18th goal of the season high into the net with his left foot.
It settled an entertaining and intriguing contest on the night, with Conor Gallagher and Jay Fulton teeing the Ghanaian up.
4 – Swansea have won four of the eight meetings between these sides since the start of December 2018, with Brentford winning three and this season’s reverse fixture ending in a draw.
27 – In those eight meetings, there have been 27 goals scored at an average just shy of 3.5 goals per game.
Tonight, we welcome our virtual mascots, Rudi Morgan and Kacey Batty.
Rudi is aged four, from Swansea, and has a sister named Ezra. Rudi’s favourite player is Jamal Lowe.
Kacey is aged 10, from Monmouthshire, and has three sisters. Kacey plays football for Raglan JFC and is part of the FAW Girls’ Performance Centre. Her favourite player is Connor Roberts.