Swansea City vs Doncaster Rovers
21st February 2009
After losing their 16-match unbeaten run on Tuesday night away at Watford, manager Roberto Martinez is urging his players to meet their usual high standards again when an in-form Doncaster side visit the Liberty Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
After a slow start to their campaign, Doncaster have gone on a good 8-match unbeaten run which has seen them rise to 15th in the table.
A tough match is predicted for both sides as O'Driscoll play in a similar, attractive style of football to us, and after beating the League's most in-form side, Bristol City in mid-week, the Swans will have to work hard to get 3 points.
It must also be noted that Martinez has still yet to experience losing 2 consecutive League games as a manager here, and hopefully that trend will continue this weekend.
'They have found their feet in this division,'
'They are in fantastic form and they will enjoy coming to play at the Liberty because it's a fantastic pitch for teams who try to play football.'
Doncaster manager, Sean O'Driscoll:
'With the structure that they have, I think that perhaps we are a bit more flexible than they are,'
They are where they are on merit and we've come up across them three or four times now and they have impressed me every time we have played them.'
'Last season, we went there and scored a couple of goals and got a bit of luck. But even then, you could see then that they were a side that would develop into a really, really good footballing side. The signs were there and they just progressed on and on and on and Roberto's been able to raid the Spanish market and pick up all the players he felt he could fit into his system.
Swansea City Team News:
Swansea City boss Roberto Martinez will be hoping that Spanish midfielder Jordi Gomez passes a fitness test. He picked up a knee strain during Tuesday's match at Watford and was brought off early in the second half.
If he doesn't make it, Guillem Bauza could come in as a replacement. Tudur-Jones didn't travel to Watford as he had a back problem but he may be available for tomorrow's game.
Angel Rangel and Mark Gower should both return to the starting line-up as they were rested on Tuesday.
Still out are Ferrie Bodde, Darren Pratley and Marcos Painter.
Matty Collins returned from injury in a reserves match this week and striker Gorka Pintado is recovering well following a hernia operation.
Player to watch: Joe Allen
Rather than saying some of the obvious choices here, such as Leon Britton or top scorer Jason Scotland, I thought Joe Allen deserves a mention here. He was one of our better players on Tuesday night and he is a consistent and battling performer for us in centre midfield. Despite his size, like Britton he's not afraid to get stuck in to challenges, has good passing ability and so he maintains possession well for us.
Doncaster Rovers Team News:
Sean O'Driscoll could have a defensive crisis on his hands as centre back duo Sam Hird (hamstring) and Matt Mills (groin) are both struggling to be fit for the game. They'll both have late fitness tests before kick off. Adam Lockwood is likely to come in if either of them don't make it.
Lewis Guy won't be available now as he has joined Hartlepool on loan.
Player to watch: Paul Heffernan
Doncaster's £125,000 signing 3 years ago has averaged nearly a goal every 2 games since his move from Bristol City, and has scored in his last 2 games, giving Rovers 1-0 wins against Bristol City and Sheffield Wednesday respectively. He's netted 6 goals this season, just behind Doncaster's top scorer Brian Stock with 7.
Match Facts & Stats
Head to Head: The two teams are level in the head to head battles, with 21 wins for both sides and 14 draws.
Doncaster are unbeaten in 8, and have also won their last 4 consecutive away games. In the last 8, they've won 7 and lost 1, and after beating Bristol City, Rovers overtake them as the Championship's most in-form side.
Swansea City are the 4th most in-form side in the League in comparison.
Doncaster have kept a clean sheet in the last 2 games.
Considering Doncaster Rovers' highly impressive form lately, I think Swansea City will be happy enough with a draw providing Martinez's men put in a good performance.
Vital Swansea's prediction: Swansea 2 Doncaster 2
Tuesday 24th February
Fulham vs Swansea (a) (FA Cup 5th round replay)
8pm Kick off
Saturday 28th February
Swansea vs Charlton (h)
3pm Kick off