Stoke v Swans: The big talking points

18th September
First team

​​​​​​​Swansea City make a swift return to Championship action when they go to Stoke City tonight (8pm).

Here are all the key talking points going into the big game.


Injury issues

The Swans have a number of injury injuries as they head to the Potteries, particularly in midfield.

Leroy Fer (groin), Jay Fulton (cut head), Tom Carroll (hip) and Bersant Celina (ankle ligaments) will all be missing, leaving the Swans short of options to play in the centre of the pitch.

It may be that Kyle Naughton is once again pressed into midfield duty, while George Byers could have a role to play having featured in the Carabao Cup.

Wilfried Bony and Jefferson Montero are also injured, while young striker Courtney Baker-Richardson is suspended.


Potter the Potter

Swans boss Graham Potter returns to one of his former clubs tonight.

Potter had made 32 appearances for Birmingham – plus a handful during a loan spell at Wycombe – when he joined Joe Jordan’s Stoke side in December 1993 for £75,000.

Potter, who played anywhere down the left flank, appeared 59 times for the Potters before landing a move to top-flight Southampton in 1996.


Solid Swans

The Swans banked their third Championship clean sheet of the season in last Saturday’s stalemate against Forest, which is an impressive return after just seven league games.

Potter’s side have conceded only five Championship goals so far in 2018-19.

Only one team in the division can better that record – fourth-placed Middlesbrough, who have been breached only three times.

Stoke, by contrast, have conceded 13 times already in the second tier, which goes a long way towards explaining why they are 20th in the table and the Swans are sixth.


Stoke’s slow start

Having been relegated alongside the Swans from the Premier League last season, Stoke began the season as favourites to win promotion from the second tier.

They might well achieve that target, of course, but it is probably fair to say Gary Rowett’s team have not fired on all cylinders just yet.

Stoke’s only league victory to date this term came at home to Hull City, but the quality they possess suggests fortunes must improve soon.

Stoke impressed at Hillsborough over the weekend, taking a 2-0 lead as they controlled possession only to end up drawing 2-2 courtesy of a late home equaliser.

The Swans must look to stop Rowett’s men building on that performance tonight.


Stadium struggles

History is against the Swans as they look to land a third away victory of the season tonight.

Their record at the bet365 Stadium – formerly the Britannia – is not pretty, with just one victory in eight previous visits.

Kristian O’Leary and Jason Price were on target in 2001 as John Hollins’s struggling team pulled off a shock third-tier win over a Stoke team who were at the top end of the table.

The Swans’ record at Stoke’s old Victoria Ground is not much better, with only three wins coming in 25 games there.


Familiar faces

There will be a number faces that are familiar to Swans fans in home ranks tonight.

Joe Allen remains a Stoke player after the club fought hard to keep hold of him following relegation last season.

He has been joined in North Staffordshire by international colleague Ashley Williams, who is a on a year-long loan from Everton.

And Stoke bought Sam Clucas from the Swans in August, although he is yet to play for his new club following that summer knee operation.