Talking Tactics | Swansea City v Coventry City
Considering their difficult start to the season - Coventry failed to win any of their opening seven league matches - to now sit eighth place and within touching distance of the play-offs is an excellent achievement for the Sky Blues.
Mark Robins has remained loyal to a three-man defence this season, and the consistency of approach has paid dividends and means Coventry are just four points off the top six coming into the Good Friday games.
A heavy 4-0 loss to Stoke last time out dented their hopes of a Premier League return, yet with seven games still to play they'll look to pick themselves up and dust themselves down for the run in.
Considering Swansea will be expected to dominate possession against Coventry, Russell Martin's side will need to keep their guard up against a Sky Blues team who have shown they can be effective in games where the opposition have more of the ball.
Coventry's possession return of 47.3% is on the lower side in the Championship, but they certainly have the quality to hurt opponents on the break.
One of Coventry's statistically calculated WhoScored.com strengths is 'counter-attacks' and that shouldn't come as a shock considering only Middlesbrough (9) have scored more counter attacking goals than Coventry (6) this season. Swansea will see far more of the ball when the pair meet in south Wales, and accuracy will be key for the home side.
This is further noted in that only Huddersfield and Birmingham (both 6) have conceded more counter-attacking goals than Swansea (5) in England's second tier this term, which explains why the WhoScored.com match forecast suggests that it is 'Very Likely' Coventry 'will score from a fast break situation'.
However, if Swansea do keep their wits about them, then they'll avoid being caught short in these situations, and that will improve their chances of securing the points.
The reverse fixture saw Swansea come from three goals down to secure a draw and one of Coventry's WhoScored.com weaknesses happens to be 'protecting the lead', while a strength of Swansea's is 'coming back from losing positions' as was evident in that 3-3 draw between the pair back in December.
That being said, that draw came before Luke McNally's arrival on loan from Burnley at the end of January, and the centre-back has been a revelation for Coventry. A WhoScored.com rating of 7.52 is better than any other Sky Blues player and he has slotted into Robins' favoured three-man backline with ease.
Coventry have conceded just 10 league goals in the 10 games he has started, including four in the weekend's loss to Stoke, so his impact has been clear. Swansea head into this game with confidence, but will be in no doubt that a tough test awaits.
Joel Piroe has only faced Coventry three times in his career, but has hit the back of the net twice in those three outings, including the first of Swansea's three goals in their 3-3 draw with the Sky Blues earlier this season.
The 23-year-old has scored at least seven more goals than any other Swansea player in England's second tier this term (14), nine of which have come on home turf.
His battle with the impressive McNally could be integral to the final outcome of the contest.
The Coventry defender been a ball-winning machine this year, having made more tackles and interceptions combined (66) in the Sky Blues' squad to reinforce WhoScored.com strengths of 'tackling' and 'ball interception', but he knows he will face a classy operator in Swansea's Dutch strike.
Swansea have been something of a bogey team for Coventry in recent years. Indeed, the Sky Blues are winless in 14 meetings with the Swans, last beating the Welsh outfit back in 1981.
Swansea will hope they can further extend that sequence this afternoon.