Preview | Swansea City v Preston North End
Swansea City will look to mark the return of supporters to the Swansea.com Stadium with three points when they host Preston this afternoon (3pm).
Russell Martin’s side last played a home game in front of their own supporters back on December 11, with Welsh Government restrictions ensuring the recent FA Cup tie against Southampton was played behind closed doors.
But those restrictions have now been eased, and the Jack Army will be in full voice as the Swans look to pick up where they left off with an impressive second-half performance helping secure a point at Huddersfield last time out.
Preston head to South Wales having lost just one of their last seven games, including a fightback from two goals and a man down to draw against Sheffield United in midweek.
The Lilywhites lie four places and five points above the hosts in the table, having played two games more.
New signing Hannes Wolf is in contention to make his debut following his arrival on loan from Borussia Monchengladbach.
Fellow new arrivals Andy Fisher and Cyrus Christie are available with Russell Martin reporting no injury concerns ahead of the visit of North End.
However, Jamie Paterson is set to be absent again after informing
Russell Martin: “We are really excited to have the fans back, it’s been a unique and difficult time without them and we know it’s just not the same without them.
“They make such a difference, just look at the magnificent support we had at Huddersfield last weekend how connected everyone was.
“I say it often because it’s true, the fans have been great to us since we walked through the door and the staff and the players are desperate to give them a side to be proud of and that they enjoy watching.
“Having them behind us will only help in what will be a tough test. I have faced Ryan Lowe as a coach during his time at Plymouth.
“He did a fantastic job there which has seen him get the opportunity at Preston, and I think you can already see the impact he is having.”
Ryan Lowe: “We’ve galvanised the squad. We’re playing a different brand of football, a different philosophy and long may that continue because if we continue to perform the way we are, we’ll hopefully collect a lot more points to push us on up there.
“We know Swansea are very well organised, very well coached. A brand of football that’s great, risky at times, but that’s Russ, he wants to do that.
“I play the same style myself, but I have different risk elements than Russ does. They’re always on the front foot and they want to play.
“He’s got a very good coaching brain, a good coaching philosophy of where he wants to try and get Swansea City to.”
Remember the last time?
Swansea City suffered more late heartbreak as an own goal by Matt Grimes in stoppage time saw them fall to a fourth defeat in a row against Preston on North End’s last visit to SA1.
Having lost to a last-gasp Birmingham penalty a few days earlier, the Swans had looked set to end their sequence of defeats - and were pressing for a winner - when a shot from a half-cleared corner fell to Scott Sinclair in the 91st minute.
Freddie Woodman got down to make the save, but the deflection off the keeper hit the covering Grimes and bounced into the back of the Swansea net.
After a quiet first half the hosts had been improved after the break, with Morgan Whittaker and Jamal Lowe having shots blocked, while Ben Cabango had headed a good chance wide in the first half.
However, Preston had created a handful of good chances, with midfielder Brad Potts spurning three of them.
13 – Joel Piroe and Emil Riis Jakobsen are the topscorers for the respective clubs, with both players having racked up 13 goals so far this season.
88 – Swansea will be looking to prevent Preston recording a third-straight win in the head to head between the clubs. The last time the Lilywhites completed three in a row over the Swans was 88 years ago back in 1934.