Preview | Swansea City v Middlesbrough
Swansea City host Middlesbrough this afternoon determined to claim victory on home turf.
The Swans are without a win in their last six games, and have won just twice in SA1 since the end of August.
But recent home performances against Fulham and Blackburn arguably deserved more than the eventual outcomes, and head coach Steve Cooper and his players will be keen to make sure they claim three points.
They face a Middlesbrough side who have yet to win on their travels this season, and who have won just one of the last eight league meetings between the sides.
However, Jonathan Woodgate’s man have had a productive week with victory over Charlton and a valuable hard-earned point at Nottingham Forest.
So it promises to be an important afternoon for both sides, with the busy Christmas schedule rapidly approaching on the horizon it’s a chance to kick a hectic few weeks off on the right note.
Swansea City are set to again be without winger Wayne Routledge for the clash with Boro as he continues to recover from a niggling calf problem.
Tom Carroll, meanwhile, serves a one-match suspension following his sending off against Blackburn in midweek.
Joe Rodon and Jordon Garrick are longer-term absentees.
Steve Cooper: “The main thing is that we are back at it. The schedule hasn’t fallen in our favour as they played Tuesday night and have an extra day to recover.
“But I don’t care, I don’t want any excuses. I just want us to focus on ourselves and be ready for what is coming.
“We know every game is tough, and a different challenge, so we need to get our own house in order and ensure we are ready.”
Jonathan Woodgate: “They’ll be thinking they can beat us, we’re thinking we can beat them.
“You need to turn up, at the minute my team are turning up. I’m pleased about that.
It’s an opportunity to win the game.
“We have had a really good response recently. There’s been an upturn in the form and how we play.
“My players don’t give up, they’ve shown character and determination.They’re sticking with it.”
Remember the last time?
Swansea City recorded an emphatic 3-1 win as they completely dominated Middlesbrough at the Liberty Stadium.
Matt Grimes netted a penalty on his 50th Swans appearance and Wayne Routledge’s slick finish put the hosts in control at the break, with Connor Roberts putting the seal on victory with a close-range effort.
George Saville rifled home for the visitors, but the result was beyond doubt by then.
In truth, such was the Swans’ superiority the margin of victory could have been far greater, with Daniel James, Nathan Dyer and Bersant Celina all failing to convert from excellent positions.
But Graham Potter was left delighted with the authority and fluency in his side’s play against a Middlesbrough outfit who had been firmly among the promotion contenders all season.
The result meant the Swans had won four in a row at home in the league for the first time in 13 months, and recorded seven wins from their last 10 games in SA1.
1 – The Swans have lost just one of their last eight league meetings with Middlesbrough, winning four and drawing three.
9 – Swansea City have scored nine goals from corners so far this season, more than any other side in the Championship.