Preview | Swansea City v Huddersfield Town
Swansea City will look to take up Steve Cooper’s challenge and get back on the front foot in the Championship play-off chase when Huddersfield visit the Liberty Stadium this afternoon (3pm).
The Swans suffered frustration as they took two points from three games in six days last week, knowing how close they were to taking a considerably larger haul from that run of fixtures.
They led against Derby before losing 3-2, and also led 4-3 late on at Hull before being stunned by a stoppage-time equaliser.
But results elsewhere ensured the point picked up in East Yorkshire closed the gap to the top six from half-a-dozen points to five.
Head coach Cooper has urged his side to make the most of that fact with a return to winning ways, with 13 games offering ample time to make up the deficit.
But they face a Huddersfield side battling for their Championship status, lying five points above the relegation places as the season approaches its final run-in.
The Swans have Joe Rodon back in contention for the meeting with the Terriers.
The defender missed the draw at Hull with a minor knock, but returned to training earlier this week.
Rodon’s regular centre-back partner Mike van der Hoorn is closing on a return from his knee injury.
It is hoped the Dutchman will be back on the grass next week, with a view to him being fit for the home meeting with West Brom early next month.
George Byers has undergone surgery on the high ankle sprain that ended his season.
The operation was successful and has reduced his time on the sidelines by a few weeks, although he will still be unavailable for the rest of the campaign.
Striker Liam Cullen, meanwhile, is a doubt for Saturday’s game with a late call set to be made on his fitness.
For Huddersfield, top scorer Karlan Grant is a doubt but midfielder Alex Pritchard is back in contention after injury.
Steve Cooper: “I went to Derby v Huddersfield on Saturday. They were fighting and, while I’m not exactly sure of their league position, they’ll be the first to say they are not at the end of the table they want to be.
“I know it’s a cliche but you’ve got to earn the right to play in a certain way. That can only happen if you’re willing to fight and to compete.
“That for me is a fundamental, is that we are up for the challenge and if not that won’t be for me.”
Danny Cowley: “They’re a possession-based team and one of the slickest teams in the division with how they play and how they try to build.
“They try to play through you, they’re very well coached, and it’s up to us to disrupt their patterns but also try to hurt them when we have the opportunity.
“We’re working on our away consistency and that’s important. We feel we have a strategy that works.”
Remember the last time?
A brace from Tammy Abraham saw Paul Clement’s Swans earn their first home win of the 2017-18 Premier League campaign on Huddersfield’s last visit to the Liberty.
The Chelsea loanee struck three minutes before the break when Jonas Lossl passed straight to Tom Carroll, who found Abraham in the area to slot home the opener.
Shortly after the interval, the Swans doubled their advantage as Jordan Ayew dinked the ball over Lossl, with Abraham on hand to stab home his second.
The win saw the Swans enjoy consecutive league wins over Huddersfield for the first time since August 1993.
2 – Kyle Naughton has scored two goals in Swansea’s last three games, having managed the same tally from his previous 90 appearances for the club.
4 – The Swans are unbeaten in four league games against Huddersfield, with the Terriers last getting the better of the Swans in 2007.