Two victories from their last three matches have eased Swansea City’s jitters as they battle to hold onto their place in the top six.
Swansea are in confident goalscoring form at home with six goals in their last two games at the Liberty Stadium. They have however struggled to find the net at away venues this season.
Paulo Sousa’s side have won only one of their last six away matches and face a Sheffield United side that has been strong at Bramall Lane this year. The Swans need little reminder that they are under pressure from Blackpool, who are a place below them in seventh and hammered them 5-1 last month.
A win on Saturday would put them just a point from securing that elusive final play-off place where they may well face rivals Cardiff City. Should Blackpool lose then it would mean the Swans would secure that place with one regular season game left, it would however only be the Tangerines fourth home defeat all season.
I’m very focused for Saturday’s game, full concentration in that, and it’s what I expect from my players.
‘It’s to be only focused on that game, not on the game after or the play-offs.
‘No, it’s Saturday’s game, it’s a massive game for us, it’s very important and we need to be focused.
‘And myself, I’m completely focused on that.’
Sheffield United Team News:
Goalkeeper Paddy Kenny is set to return after a nine-month ban for failing a drugs test. Andy Taylor and Darius Henderson are sidelined along with Jordan Stewart, Ryan France and Jamie Ward.
Player to watch: Ryan Creswell
The Blades’ joint top scorer with 12 goals has scored twice in the last 3 games.
Swansea City Team News:
The away team have doubts over Alan Tate, who has missed the last three games with an ankle injury, but Angel Rangel is in line for a return from a groin injury.
Striker Craig Beattie (hip) is out, while midfielders Ferrie Bodde and Jordi Lopez’s seasons are already over.
Swansea are expected to start with a 4-5-1 formation, as they have done for much of the campaign, although it would surprise few if manager Paulo Sousa opts to start with a 4-4-2 formation, as the Portuguese sometimes favours this formation away from home.
A similar side could start to that of the last game (at home to Barnsley) with the only expectation of Spaniard Angel Rangel replacing the doubtful Alan Tate.
Player to watch: Shefki Kuqi
Paulo Sousa usually prefers Gorka Pintado away from home but hopefully he’ll opt to keep Kuqi in the side for Saturday’s game.
Pintado offers very little in front of goal but Kuqi usually as 2-3 good chances in a game and at the moment he’s our best option up front.
Match Facts & Stats
Head-to-head Sheffield United have won 16 and Swansea eight of the 33 previous matches between these clubs. The Blades are unbeaten in 11 home league games against Swansea, and have won the last three. United have won one of their last seven matches but they have lost only one of their last 14 at home, winning nine. The Blades have conceded fewer goals in the last five minutes of Championship matches than any other club (five). They have committed 595 fouls in league matches this season – more than any other team in the division. Glenn Little is hoping make his 350th club career start.
Swansea have won only two of their last nine matches and have lost their last three away games. Paulo Sousa’s side has kept more clean sheets (23) and won more matches 1-0 (nine) this season than any other Championship side. They are the only team in the second tier not to have won at least one league game after conceding the opening goal.
The most recent meeting between these two sides was on September 26 2009, when the home team ran out 2-1 winners Lee Trundle netted a penalty on 52 while Quinn replied for the visitors. Substitute Tom Butler scored the winner with only 8 minutes left to give the swans 3 points.
Sheffield United 1-1 Swansea City. We’ve struggled away, goals are still a problem and United are a strong outfit at home. Hopefully I’m wrong but I can only see us getting a point.
Sunday May 2nd 2010
Swansea City vs Doncaster Rovers