Preview | Swansea City v Millwall
Swansea City will look to extend their three-match unbeaten run as a crucial segment of the season commences with this afternoon’s clash with Millwall (3pm).
With the trio of autumn international breaks now over, the Swans will play 24 Championship fixtures – plus any FA Cup commitments – by the time the next one rolls around in March.
The four-month period will go a long way to deciding which of the promotion hopefuls remain in the picture come the final weeks of the campaign, and Swansea face a busy start with a run of three games in just six days.
They face a Millwall side who are without a league win on their travels this season, but who have won two of their last three games under new boss Gary Rowett.
Having returned to winning ways on home turf against local rivals Cardiff in their most recent Liberty assignment, the Swans will be keen to back that up and make sure they kick off a busy period on the front foot.
Striker Sam Surridge has been passed fit for the clash with the Lions after a scan on a knee injury revealed no issues.
The on-loan Bournemouth forward was forced to withdraw from the England Under-21 squad with the issue, but he is available for the return to Championship action.
Aldo Kalulu has stepped up his recovery from an ankle injury with game time for the under-23s, while Erwin Mulder is back in training after suffering a broken finger.
Joe Rodon (ankle) and Jordon Garrick (hamstring) will be sidelined for the rest of the calendar year.
Steve Cooper: "They have a new manager in Gary Rowett, so that is always something to be mindful of.
"We experienced that against Barnsley when we faced them in the first game after they changed manager.
"It’s also the first game after the international break and – truth be told – we have not done too well in games after those breaks.
"That was the case against Nottingham Forest and in the first half at Barnsley. It’s something we have spoken to the players about.
"We need to prove we can play well after a break.
"So, that adds to the challenge. This league is one where you have to be ready for every game you play."
Gary Rowett: “You know what you’re going to play against when you go over there. “They are a very good footballing side that move the ball very well – they try to drag you out of areas and exploit the space behind the midfielders and in front of your back four.
“There’s always challenges playing against a side like that. What we have to do is go and cause them problems, like a few teams have in their recent home games.
“Their home form hasn’t been as good of late. It’s something we have to look at but we want to improve our away form.”
Remember the last time?
George Byers scored his first senior goal as the Swans secured a league double over Millwall at the Liberty.
Graham Potter’s side bounced back from the defeat at Bristol City by earning their 12th victory of the season thanks to Byers’ strike.
The midfielder fired home into the top corner from inside the box at the second attempt in the 43rd minute.
It proved the difference in a game where the Swans were comfortably on top in the first half but then had to hold off a determined Millwall effort after the break.
5 – Andre Ayew has been involved in five goals in his last eight league appearances, scoring four goals and creating another.
29 – Swansea’s tally of 29 points from 16 games is their best at this stage of a season since the 2010-11 campaign, when they went on to secure promotion via the play-offs.