Swansea City boss Russell Martin has confirmed that he will need to make personnel changes among his back three for Tuesday’s trip to Stoke City.
Kyle Naughton will miss the game after picking up a thigh strain during the 1-0 defeat at home to Luton Town last week, an injury that also saw him miss Saturday’s 1-0 home win against Blackburn.
In Naughton’s absence, defensive midfielder Flynn Downes filled in in the middle of the back three against Blackburn and did a superb job and I would expect him to keep that place on Tuesday.
Alongside him, Ryan Manning will serve a one-match ban after his second yellow on the weekend so Russell Martin has a decision to make on whether he brings in Ryan Bennett and moves Cabango to left centre-back or does he go with the 18-year-old Manchester City loanee Finley Burns.
Talking about Kyle Naughton, Russell Martin said:
“He’s [Naughton] a loss for us. I don’t think people appreciate how good he is until you come in and train with him every day,”
“I did because I played with him and he took my place in the team at Norwich and I had to re-invent myself as a centre-half.
“When I came here he’s surprised me again. The players love Naughts. He’ll be a loss for us but hopefully he won’t be too much longer. Tuesday will be too soon.”
In other team news, Jamie Patterson will be assessed after surprisingly playing the full 90 minutes against Blackburn. He revealed after the game that it was planned that he would be subbed earlier but added that he stayed on as the boss didn’t want to change the system too much.
Talking about others, Martin says the likes of Grimes and Cabango can cope with the schedule while others will need a rest.
“I don’t know [if Paterson’s available]. We’ll be in on Sunday,”
“They’ll be in the cryo chamber and the pool. We have a fantastic facility at Fairwood thankfully.
“It’ll be a big ask. We’ll have to wait and see. He got himself in a brilliant condition before the break.
“I think we have a few really seasoned guys who can play, [Matt] Grimesy, the level of consistency he shows every week physically, the stats as well as his performance on the ball, but we haven’t got too many like that.
“Ben Cabango, for such a young guy, is probably one of the few who is really used to playing week-in week-out at Championship level.
“We’ve lost another guy who is in Ryan Manning. Cyrus [Christie] is but he’s not played for a long time.
“We’ve got a lot to consider, a lot to think about, but we have a brilliant medical and sports science team.
Olivier Ntcham is another player who should be “fine” for Tuesday and only came off on Saturday as a “precaution”.
“He’s not injured, it was more a precaution than anything,”
“We’re just trying to get him up to speed. He’s played a lot of minutes recently after coming back after a bit of time out.
“He was really fatigued, he was feeling a few bits, but he’ll be fine for Tuesday.”
Russell Martin will also have decisions to make up top. Will Obafemi keep his place after his winning goal at the weekend? We’d guess so but we’ll see.
Hannes Wolf might have to fill in at left wing-back again with new signing Ogbeta still waiting to make the matchday squad.
We asked our Twitter followers for their thoughts on our strongest line-up and here’s a pick of the responses:
Wolf has to play regardless of his position. He's added some much needed pace and directness to the team. I have quite liked him in wide positions. The thing with him and Pato they can be given a free role behind the striker and drift from central to wide areas.
— Scott 🦢⚫⚪ (@littlebuster6) February 6, 2022
I would play Piroe up top with Paterson as the central attacking midfielder with Wolf and Ntcham on the flanks and being interchangeable. Grimes and Downes being central.
If we have a game where we need to be more conservative then we sacrifice one and play Smith instead
— Kevin (@kevevs1908) February 6, 2022
Based on current form, yes. Pato left, Wolf right. Gives us great balance, and ball carrying threat, and the desire to run past the front man.
Piroe out of sorts at the moment, but will be a great target man ahead of those two in time.
— Andy T (@andytidy_80) February 6, 2022
As good as Wolf was yesterday we lose his creativity as a wing back I also can’t pick between Joel and Obafemi for the striker. The more I look back on yesterdays game the more I see the depth we have in some areas. Just need another LWB and RWB and we have competition everywhere
— Mark Twain (@mtwainet) February 6, 2022
I liked the line up yesterday. Get your best players on the pitch.
— Dan Evans (@swanseadan) February 6, 2022
Thought the set up yesterday was ideal!! Play most teams like that the rest of the season and were climbing!!!
— Dσɳ (@SCFCDon) February 6, 2022