Talking Tactics | Swansea City v Luton Town
Football stats experts WhoScored.com take a close look at the form of Jay Fulton, and the role the midfielder could play in Swansea City's clash with Luton Town.
Swansea City will have been disappointed to come away from the Riverside Stadium empty handed with a slow start ultimately proving costly at Middlesbrough in midweek.
However, they will not be dwelling on the defeat, and will dust themselves down and focus their efforts on Luton this weekend.
Swansea sit outside the top six on goal difference, but a win over the Hatters and results going their way could see them finish the weekend top of the Championship, such are the fine margins in this most unpredictable of divisions.
The Swans have a decent record against Luton, winning four of the last five meetings between the two sides, though the sole defeat in that run came in this fixture last season.
Luton come into the clash with their tails up, too, having secured a 3-1 win over an injury-hit Norwich side, inflicting a first defeat upon the league leaders since October. That victory ended a four-match winless run and it's clear Luton aren't to be underestimated, something the Swans learned the hard way last season.
At the Liberty Stadium, though, Steve Cooper's side have been in solid form and come into this home fixture on a four-game unbeaten run in Wales, winning three of those, whereas Luton have failed to win back-to-back away matches, including a 4-0 defeat at Cardiff in their last game on their travels.
Swansea will be keen to extend Luton's away day profligacy. Nathan Jones' men have scored just four league goals on their travels this season; only Nottingham Forest (two) and Watford (three) have bagged fewer. And with Jay Fulton shielding the backline for Cooper's side, the goal-shy performances on the road could continue.
Fulton boasts key statistically calculated WhoScored.com strengths of 'ball interception' and 'tackling', two key traits for any central midfielder. He has developed these qualities for good reason, too, with Fulton ranking first for tackles per 90 minutes (4.2) and fourth for interceptions per 90 minutes (1.8) of all Swansea players in the Championship this season.
What's more, Swansea's goals conceded per game return drops marginally from 0.71 to 0.63 in league games he has started this season.
Granted Luton have struggled to find the back of the net on the road, but if last season's meeting between the pair in South Wales is anything to go, Swansea will know they can't afford to take Saturday's opponents lightly, and they certainly won't do.
Part of the reason for that will be the form of Luton frontman James Collins, who is coming into the clash on the back of his goal against Norwich.
The 30-year-old may have just three league goals to his name, but a strike against the Canaries is likely to have boosted morale ahead of Luton's trip to Swansea as the forward looks for a repeat of last season's meeting, where he bagged the only goal of the game.
Collins may have endured a slow start to the campaign, yet Cooper will be keen to avoid presenting the Irish frontman with the opportunity to add to his goal return this season.
Fulton is eager to get stuck into the opposition where possible - while being an under-rated and understated link-man in attack - and - if he starts against Luton - then he very much has the means to disrupt the Hatters' rhythm.
If he performs to his high standards off the ball, then Luton may well struggle again in the final third in a game where Swansea will be very keen to get back to winning ways.