PREVIEW: Swansea City vs Middlesbrough
15th August 2009
Swansea City will be looking for their first League win of the season on Saturday and to bounce back from our opening day defeat at Leicester City when Middlesbrough visit the Liberty Stadium.
Gareth Southgate brings his side to South Wales for this Championship clash following their relegation last year from the Premiership, and they'll be aiming to make an instant return to the top flight.
Despite seeing his side drop down a league last year, the board have stood by the former England international and have given him their full confidence that they'll bounce back this term.
They started their campaign with a disappointing performance and result at home to Sheffield United, the Blades held them to a goalless draw on Friday 7th August.
Paulo Sousa's side will have been boosted this week with a comfortable 3-0 win against Brighton and Hove Albion in the Carling Cup first round. Garry Monk opened the scoring early on before Stephen Dobbie scored a second half brace to increase our advantage.
Middlesbrough have been allocated 1,171 tickets for the match.
The only way for Middlesbrough is to get promotion,'
'They have a lot of quality — the right players already — and they will go into every game this season looking to win because each player knows he wants to be in the Premier League.
'They have already played there, they want to return there and I think they are good enough to finish in the top two.
'The performance on Tuesday has given me some difficulties in picking the team,'
'We saw some good things against Brighton and got some confidence back. Now we have another opportunity to give some happiness to our supporters and I am confident we can do it.'
Tony McMahon, Middlesbrough defender:
"When I was on loan at Sheffield Wednesday last season, I played my second game at Swansea.
"They played some good football, passed the ball around and made us work hard.
"It`s a good footballing pitch, which will suit us, but it will be tough as well."
"I got a 1-1 draw with Wednesday but we`ll go there tomorrow to try to win it."
Swansea City Team News:
Paulo Sousa is sweating on the fitness of midfielder Jordi Gomez, who's the latest player to have suffered an injury knock. He limped off during Tuesday's game with a dead leg, but the Swans boss is hopeful he'll be available for selection.
Albert Serran has also picked up an injury this week. He could be out for some time after suffering an ankle ligament problem in training.
Ashley Williams should be available after playing for Wales on Wednesday. He was replaced at half time as a precaution for a groin injury. Shaun MacDonald, Jazz Richards, David Cornell and Casey Thomas also return from international duty.
Midfield trio Joe Allen (hamstring), Darren Pratley (shoulder) and Ferrie Bodde (knee) remain on the sidelines with injuries.
Paulo Sousa may decide to make a few changes from the side that lost to Leicester City. Shaun MacDonald struggled in his attacking midfield role while Andrea Orlandi impressed on Tuesday in the same position. If Lopez isn't fit, the Swansea boss will be struggling for options in the centre and he may opt to change to 4-4-2 to compensate.
There is a strong rumour that Sousa will hand a debut to 18 year-old Jazz Richards who will start in midfield in place of Shaun MacDonald. It would be a big surprise if he did, as he hasn't much at all during the pre-season friendlies.
Player to watch: Stephen Dobbie
The Scottish striker showed what he can do on Tuesday night, and after Pintado's quiet game last weekend, Dobbie is pushing himself closer to his first League start since his free transfer to the club. He scored 4 during pre-season and another 2 in mid-week.
Middlesbrough Team News:
Gareth Southgate will be forced to make at least one change from the side that drew with Sheffield United as Didier Digard is out with a hip/groin injury. Gary O'Neil is likely to replace the Frenchman.
The Middlesbrough will also have decisions to make over who he should start up front. Aliadiere and Emnes face competition from Tuncay while Leroy Lita is pushing for a start after having a full week's training with the club.
Player to watch: Mark Yeates
The versatile player, who can play in the centre, on either flank and up front was Middlesbrough's best player in their opening game as the 24 year-old's quality shone through.
Match Facts & Stats
Middlesbrough are looking for their first away League win in 9 months. Their last was on November 9th 2008 when they beat Aston Villa 2-1 thanks to a brace from Sanli.
The last match league match between the two sides was in Division 2 in 1984, Swans won 2-1.
Since then we've played Middlesbrough twice in the FA Cup. We drew 1-1 at the Vetch Field in 1995 before beating them 2-1 in the third round replay.
Both sides are looking for their first League win. Boro haven't won in a League match in the last 6.
2008/09 Stats: 36 Games, 127 Yellows, 12 Reds.
BR> Paul Taylor was in charge of one Swansea match last season, in the 3-1 home win against Nottingham Forest. He has averaged around 1 Swansea match per season since 1997/98.
Assistant Referees: G C Law and A M Turner
Fourth Official: M Russell
It's a tough game for both sides as Swansea and Middlesbrough look for their first League win of the season. Southgate's side didn't look very impressive on the opening day, but neither did we, so it'll be an interesting and tight match. We'll need to create a lot more chances than we did at Leicester, but at time and with a good home crowd, we should dominate a lot of the match and hopefully we'll convert our chances. We're missing a few players, possibly Jordi Lopez but there were a few good performances on Tuesday night and the likes of Orlandi and Dobbie will be hoping they've earned a starting place tomorrow.
Swansea 2-2 Middlesbrough
Tuesday 18th August
Swansea City vs Reading