Preview | Swansea City v Derby County
Swansea City will look to build momentum to take into their play-off campaign as they host Derby County in their final home game of the Championship season this afternoon.
Steve Cooper’s side put the sale on a second top-six finish in succession thanks to a 2-2 draw at Reading last time out.
But there remain two fixtures to be played before they discover their semi-final opponents, with the visit of the Rams being followed by a final-day trip to take on already-promoted Watford.
And head coach Steve Cooper has made clear that, while he will consider changes, he expects whichever side he picks to go out with the goal of picking up another three points and a win to carry forward into the critical post-season action.
Cooper will also be looking for his first win over the Rams, having drawn one and lost two of the previous three meetings.
In fact, the Swans have not beaten Derby since their return to the Championship in 2018, and they will be keen to end that streak as Wayne Rooney’s side seek a result to boost their survival hopes.
Cooper has suggested he could make changes to give some players a chance to stake a claim for play-off spots, and for others to be as fresh as possible for when the semi-finals come around.
Andre Ayew is not fully fit following his recent hamstring injury but there are no other injury worries for the Swansea boss, with only Tivonge Rushesha definitely sidelined.
Steve Cooper: “We’re only focused on ourselves. Never once do we worry about the opposition’s situation, regardless of the time of the season.
“There’s two games to play, we want to win both games and play well. We want to get the best out of it.
“It’s our prerogative what team I decide to pick, and the game plan. Just like it’s everyone else’s with what they do with their team. But we are going out there to win, that’s always our idea.
“You see in this league that so often things can happen that you do not expect.
“You have to respect every team’s plan and journey that they’re on. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
“That can happen because it’s a competitive league. Very rarely is there a massive difference in games, even if it’s a team in good form against a team in bad form. That goes with league positions as well.”
Wayne Rooney (via RamsTV): “It’s a pressure situation, we are not in good form in terms of results and we have two games to try and turn it around.
“We know what we have to do, there is pressure on the teams chasing us too, but our sole focus is on our game on Saturday.
“Games are running out, the other teams have to pick up points to go above us, so we have to keep pushing to get the win, and a win on Saturday would be huge for us.
“It’s our full focus and we are looking to get the preparations right for Swansea.
“The focus is on winning in any way there is. It’s about result at this stage of the season.
“Swansea are not in the best of form, also, and we have to go there with the belief we can win.
“We know, if we play our game against them, they will struggle to contain us.”
Remember the last time?
Swansea City fell to defeat at the Liberty Stadium as Tom Lawrence netted the winner for Derby in a thrilling contest on their last visit to SA1 in February 2020.
Despite a bright start, the Swans had fallen behind when Martyn Waghorn tapped in after Freddie Woodman had tipped a Lawrence strike onto the post.
The Swans trailed until the break but hit back to lead as quickfire strikes from Yan Dhanda and Kyle Naughton turned the game around.
However, Derby hit back as Duane Holmes drilled in an equaliser, before Wales international Lawrence fired in the winner to break Swansea hearts.
7 – The Swans are winless in their last seven meetings with Derby stretching back to a 1-0 win at Pride Park in February 2010.
15 – Swansea are about to secure back-to-back top-six finishes for the first time in 15 years. Last doing so when finishing third in League Two and sixth in League One under Kenny Jackett.
Today, we welcome our virtual mascots; Dewi Jac Owen and Jack Brown.
Dewi is aged three, from Bolton, and his favourite player is Connor Roberts.
Jack is from Swansea, plays football for Briton Ferry and his favourite player is Freddie Woodman. He is also celebrating his ninth birthday, so happy birthday Jack!