Preview | Swansea City v Queens Park Rangers
Swansea City host Queens Park Rangers this evening knowing a victory is needed in order to keep the pressure on their rivals for automatic promotion.
The weekend draw against Wycombe saw the Swans close the gap to second-placed Watford to six points with four games of the season remaining, and just 12 points up for grabs.
Watford head to Norwich, whose promotion was confirmed at the weekend, tonight and Swansea fans will doubtless be hoping the Canaries can take points off the Hornets.
But, whatever happens at Carrow Road, Steve Cooper has made clear it is down to his side to put together the run of results and performances necessary to make sure they can make the most of any opportunities that fall their way, with the head coach feeling they let such a chance slip through their fingers on Saturday.
But they will not face an easy task tonight against a QPR side who have climbed into the top 10 in the table on the back of a number of positive results since the turn of the year.
Mark Warburton’s side have won six of their last 10 games and, having had their struggles away from home, picked up a good victory at Middlesbrough last time out.
But for Swansea, and their promotion rivals, this is the time of the season where – perhaps more than at any other stage in a long campaign – results can alter the picture very quickly.
Andre Ayew is a doubt for the Swans after suffering a hamstring injury during the early stages of the draw against Wycombe.
The Ghanaian has been ever-present in the league this term, and Morgan Whittaker, Liam Cullen and Wayne Routledge will be among the options to replace him if he misses out.
Tivonge Rushesha is the only player currently with the first-team squad who is out through injury, with Cullen and Steven Benda having recently returned to action.
Steve Cooper: “We were disappointed not to win at the weekend, but when I take a deep breath and look at the bigger picture it is an exciting position to be in.
“We want to play these games with confidence, in the manner we played against Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday.
“It’s a brilliant group of lads, they have worked so hard, we now need to put it all together for these last few weeks.
“We know QPR have had some really good results since the turn of the year, they are a good footballing team and try and play with the ball.
“It’s a different test to the weekend, but we are at home and I am sure there will be a bit of a fire in the belly to play better than what we did against Wycombe.”
Remember the last time?
Swansea City and QPR played out a goalless draw in a game of few chances on the London club’s last visit to the Liberty Stadium in February 2020.
It was a night on which neither keeper had a great deal of work to do.
Andre Ayew had a powerful strike deflected wide, while the Ghanaian just failed to get on the end of a clever knockdown in the area.
At the other end Freddie Woodman denied Bright Osayi-Samuel, while Jordan Hugill wasted the visitors best chance early on.
Following the disappointment of defeat to Derby, this was not the outcome Steve Cooper and his side had been looking for and they ended the evening three points off the play-off places with a number of rivals having a game in hand.
7 – Assists against Sheffield Wednesday and Wycombe took Connor Roberts’ tally for the season to seven, only Jake Bidwell (also seven) has as many for the Swans this term.
28 – Swansea came from two goals down to draw against Wycombe. The previous time they came from two down to earn a positive result was against Wigan in December 2018, some 28 months ago.
Tonight, we welcome our virtual mascots, Jake and Ellie-May Evans from Mountain Ash.
Jake is aged four and his favourite player is Kyle Naughton. His elder sister Ellie-May is aged 11, and her favourite player is Matt Grimes