Preview: Middlesbrough vs Swansea City
23rd January 2010
Swansea City face Gordon Strachan's Middlesbrough side on Saturday at the Riverside Stadium, hoping they can continue on from last week's vital win against fellow play-off hopefuls Leicester City.
The Teesiders are currently struggling down in mid-table whilst they should be competing at the top to make an instant return to the Premier League. Paulo Sousa says he's hoping his team can make Strachan's time at Boro even more difficult by taking home all three points this weekend.
The Swans were due to face Middlesbrough a fortnight ago but the match was postponed because of the cold weather, but Sousa, along with some of the players have admitted that it'll be more difficult this time around. 2 weeks ago they would have had a number of key players unavailable through injury suspension, but most of them should be available for tomorrow's clash.
Swansea defender Alan Tate:
'They've brought players in and some have returned from injury and suspension, it's going to be a tough ask but it's definitely a place where we can have a good go and beat them,'
'They're not in the greatest form at the moment but it only takes one game to make it right so we've got to be at our best to go up there and beat them.'
Middlesbrough Team News:
New signing from Celtic, midfielder Barry Robson is a serious doubt for the game as he has picked up a hamstring injury, while loan signing Isaiah Osbourne is a doubt with an ankle problem.
Emanuel Pogatetz (hamstring), Rhys Williams (pelvis), Andrew Taylor (hernia surgery), Seb Hines (ankle and medial ligament) and Matthew Bates (cruciate ligament) are still on the sidelines but striker Leroy Lita is available again after serving a 3-match ban.
Player to watch: Leroy Lita
Lita is back from suspension for this game and we all know he can score goals at this level. He's only netted 5 goals this season but our defence will still have to keep him quiet.
Swansea City Team News:
Albert Serran is definitely not available as he faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury but there's good news regarding Dutch winger Cedric Van Der Gun who is likely to make a return.
Sousa has no other injury problems since last week's match at home to Leicester. Craig Beattie will be hoping to start after he returned against Leicester, coming off the bench.
Andrea Orlandi is a doubt with a thigh injury and Ashley Williams will be hoping to be back in the side after he was surprised to be dropped last weekend.
Player to watch: Darren Pratley
His away record has been superb lately and he put in a man of the match performance to help us beat Leicester last Saturday.
Match Facts & Stats
Middlesbrough's last home win was on Boxing Day, they beat Scunthorpe United 3-0. They're currently 13th in the League table.
They've lost 5 in the last 6 League games.
Swansea City are unbeaten in 4 League games, and have maintained 3 clean-sheets in the last 4 games. They have more clean sheets than any other team in the League - 14.
In the League, Middlesbrough have beaten Swansea 17 times, with 7 draws and 11 wins for the Swans.
Our last win at Middlesbrough was in 1962.
Middlesbrough have been finding it difficult lately and are struggling for confidence and goals. They could have a few more key players back though so we could face a much harder task. The Swans look solid at the back though and I would say a 1-1 draw, but I think we can sneak a close 2-1 win.
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
Swansea City vs Coventry City (h)