Swansea will be hoping to keep hold of top spot as Leeds United jet in from Yorkshire. The Liberty Stadium will be full to the rafters after the game was sold out with the official confirmation by the club that no tickets had been returned.
Fans will be hoping that Roberto Martinez`s squad can keep up the good run of form that has seen the South Wales club go two points clear at the top of the league one tree. In recent weeks the Liberty Stadium has played host to three fine performances by a rampant Swansea side that have brushed aside fellow promotion chasers Southend United with ease. Added to the growing confidence was the 4-1 drumming of lowly Cheltenham town on Saturday in which Swansea tore apart the Whaddon Road outfit.
Their opponents in contrast have struggled to surmount the challenge posed by Hartlepool United , Walsall and Bristol Rovers this month. The Elland Road side have relied on late goals from star man Jermaine Beckford and Ian Westlake to keep in touch of second placed Nottingham Forrest
Conscious that there are no slip ups on Saturday Whites manager Dennis Wise has given his Squad a days rest in the hope of a up tempo start against Swansea.
His Squad are also set to fly into Bristol Airport in a bid to give themselves every chance of closing the gap. Wise has also highlighted the need to focus on defending set-pieces and has made it a priority in training tomorrow.
In a must win game for both sides, a win would give the victor pole position even at this early stage in the race for promotion to the Championship.
Swansea have two games in hand over their rivals after the postponement of the derby against Bristol Rovers and also what would have been a top of the table clash against Carlisle United.
These two games could prove vital to the league leaders come the new year. Swansea have not suffered thought a lack of goals as of late something that has proved Leeds`s undoing.
Roberto Martinez on the Leeds Threat:
|“They are a very strong squad and just to be playing them in a competitive game shows how far we have come.’
It’s a glamorous occasion, one our fans deserve, and the result will depend on who performs best on the day.’
Whenever the top three clubs in this division – Leeds, Nottingham Forest and ourselves – meet, their form won’t matter.’
What counts is who adapts best, and we have to get ready to make things difficult for them.”
Leeds Manager Dennis Wise on Swansea:
|“We will probably play better against Swansea than we have in our last couple of games.”‘This is a top-of-the-table match, which will suit us. There will be a big crowd, it’s a huge game for both clubs and hopefully we will come away with the right result.’|
Swansea City Team News:
Defender Garry Monk is expected to play despite suffering a dead leg in Swansea’s 4-1 win over Cheltenham Town.
Owain Tudur Jones is still in the process of recovering from a long lay off but should be back sometime early in the new year.
Striker Jason Scotland is expected to get the nod over Guillem Bauza after the Spaniard secured his first league start for the club.
Player to watch: Ferrie Bodde
The midfield maestro:
|Dutch midfeild meastro Ferrie Bodde will be vital to Swansea`s chances come Saturday as Roberto Martinez looks to extend the Liberty Stadium outfits lead at the top of the table.
Signed from Ado Den Hagg for £80,000 in the summer transfer window, Bodde has become the cog in a well oiled Swansea midfield.
His ability to switch the play and fierce shot will cause United`s Danish Keeper Casper Ankergren problems.
His partnership with Darren Pratley has been vital to the clubs run to the top of the table and if Leeds United allow him time and space on the ball he will punish them.
Leeds United Team News:
Dennis Wise does not have any immediate injury concerns.
Player to watch: Jermaine Beckford
The Sharp shooter :
|Jermaine Beckford has forged a successful strike partnership with Tresor Kandol in recent months and has seen the duo score 22 goals. However its is the former Scunthorpe player who has secured all the plaudits to sit top of the leading scorers chart with 14 goals just two ahead of Swansea City striker Jason Scotland..
With his powerful shot and his all round ability Beckford the whites frountman has made himself an instant starter. The central defensive partnership of Garry Monk and Dennis Lawrence will have to be on their guard against a supremely influential Beckford.
Match Facts & Stats
The Form Book(based on previous 5 results)
J Flynn and C Sarginson
Fourth Official K Hill
Andre Marriner is a vast experienced Official who began refereeing in 1992. His first games were in the Birmingham Amateur Football League and the Southern league. In 2000 he was awarded the prestigious title of the Football League assistant referee of the year. So far this term he has officiated games in every division of the football league. In the 18 games he has officiated he has given 55 yellow cards and has dismissed 3 players.
Swansea Vital predicts closely fought contest with Swansea shading Leeds 2-1 to win.
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Swindon Town Vs Swansea City
Coca Cola League One
The County Ground
1st January 2008