Russell Martin | This is a great challenge for us

14th January
First team
Russell Martin training

Head coach Russell Martin wants Swansea City to rise to the challenge and show what they are capable of when they face Sunderland this afternoon (3pm).

The Swans take on the Black Cats in their own backyard at the Stadium of Light, with the home side boasting the largest average attendance in the second tier by some distance.

The average crowd on Wearside has been around the 38,000 mark, and Tony Mowbray’s side have been on a good run of form that has put them on the brink of the play-off places.

The two sides played out an entertaining see-saw contest at the Stadium earlier in the season, and the return game promises to be a hard-fought contest.

And Martin wants his young side to back up the many positives from their last three performances by producing in a hostile environment.

"There is very little between us and them in terms of points so it should be a good game,” he said.

Russell Martin congratulates  Matt Grimes after a match

"I really like Sunderland as a team, they were great in the second half when we played them earlier in the season.

"They are a young, vibrant team who play with so much energy.

"They have a manager who is so experienced at this level and they pose a lot of threats.

"I am sure it will be a great atmosphere, I really enjoyed playing at the Stadium of Light as a player and it is a really good test for us.

"There will be a big crowd and it is up to us to be able to manage that, to be able to show what we are about and perform strongly in front of 40,000 people.

"It's a challenge we are really looking forward to."