Swans v Forest: The big talking points

14th September 2018
First team

Swansea City return to Championship action when they take on Nottingham Forest at the Liberty on Saturday (3pm).

Here are all the key talking points heading into the game.

 

Tough nuts to crack

It is still early in the season, of course, but Graham Potter’s Swans side have proved hard to beat so far.

They have won three and drawn two of their six league games, with the solitary Championship loss coming last time out on home soil against Bristol City.

A look at the history books highlights how solid that early-sequence has been.

After all, since beginning the 1978-79 campaign with a seven-game unbeaten run, the Swans have suffered no more than one defeat in their opening six games of a league season on just three previous occasions – 1986-87, 1994-95 and 2015-16.

If they can stay this resilient over the next eight months, Potter’s men should finish in the higher echelons of the table.

 

Fresh start for Forest

Nottingham Forest appointed Aitor Karanka as Mark Warburton’s successor in the manager’s office back in January, and he quickly set about reshaping the City Ground squad.

A host of players came into the club during the winter transfer window, and Forest have been even busier over the summer.

In all, they have made 16 signings since the end of last season, while there have also been a number of departures.

Forest spent big on Portuguese midfielder Joao Carvalho and Bournemouth striker Lewis Grabban, who scored a total of 20 Championship goals during loan spells at Sunderland and Aston Villa last season.

There are new faces right across the Forest team, with Karanka going for a clutch of players with Premier League experience.

Now the challenge is to end the club’s 19-year exile from the top flight.

 

Barrie’s big day

With so many players coming in at Forest, plenty have gone in the opposite direction.

One of those is Barrie McKay, the Scottish winger who has made a bright start to life as a Swan following his July switch to South Wales.

McKay only joined Forest in the summer of 2017, and he initially thrived in the red shirt.

But the change of manager in mid-season saw his opportunities dry up, and hence he was allowed to join the Swans.

Already McKay looks a shrewd acquisition.

Having recovered from the illness which ruled him out of the Millwall win, he will be desperate to play a part this weekend.

 

Keep it mean

Murray Wallace’s goal at Millwall last time out means the Swans have conceded five times in six Championship games so far this season.

Only two clubs in the division have conceded on fewer occasions – leaders Leeds (four goals) and second-placed Middlesbrough (two).

The Swans’ record is admirable, particularly given the reshuffle in central defence – and in goal – which occurred following relegation from the Premier League.

But the likes of Mike van der Hoorn, Joe Rodon, Connor Roberts and Martin Olsson have all done their bit so far this season, as have goalkeepers Kristoffer Nordfeldt and Erwin Mulder.

Potter will be delighted if his team can continue in the same vein throughout 2018-19.

 

More of the same, please

It is seven years and four months since the Swans last did battle with Forest.

Remember the game? Of course you do.

It was the Championship play-off semi-final second leg, and Brendan Rodgers’s Swans side won in thrilling style.

Leon Britton’s last professional goal put the hosts in front before Stephen Dobbie doubled their advantage.

But when Robert Earnshaw replied for Forest, the tie was in the balance after a goalless draw in the first leg.

Then came Darren Pratley’s moment, as he scored from inside his own half and the Liberty erupted.

It was arguably the most memorable game the stadium has seen in its 13-year existence.

It is extremely unlikely that we will witness such drama this weekend given that the stakes are low by comparison to that May night back in 2011.

But a similar result would do nicely.