The Swans are in Suffolk today to take on Ipswich Town as they close off another mini round of fixtures.
One win, one draw and two defeats have been the return from the four games in this mini round of games to date and, with that kind of record, you would assume that only a win makes it look like a decent return.
But factor in a home game to the league leaders, a draw against ten men and today’s trip to the other runaway side in the league and it’s been a pretty testing few weeks for Michael Duff and his side as they face this last game before another enforced two week break from league action.
Ipswich have made a stunning return to the Championship after their promotion last season and sit just three points behind Leicester at the top of the league and a full eight points clear of Leeds in third such has been their fantastic form. Whilst many pundits predicted the league this season would be all about last season’s three relegated teams it is Ipswich that have got themselves in amongst them and can legitimately believe that they are in the middle of a promotion battle.
That tells you just how tough it will be for the Swans this afternoon and, as with the Leicester game, we may not be expected to take three points but if we do lose we have the chance to head into the break with another good performance under our belts.
The Swans, of course, do have to make at least one team change today with the suspension of Charlie Patino following his sending off last weekend and it is anticipated that Jay Fulton will be the one to benefit from that suspension with a start in the team.
Outside of that changes are not really expected although Ben Cabango was a substitute last weekend and that could put him into contention for a start again.
Predicted line-up: Carl Rushworth, Harry Ashby, Bashir Humphreys, Harry Darling, Josh Tymon, Matt Grimes, Jay Fulton, Jamie Paterson, Jamal Lowe, Liam Cullen, Jerry Yates.
For Ipswich they welcome back Wes Burns after weeks on the sidelines with a shoulder injury while fellow Welshman Nathan Broadhead has trained having been ill in midweek.
Brandon Williams missed last week’s game at Birmingham having also been unwell before returning to the bench at Rotherham on Tuesday and manager Kieran McKenna says there is still some illness among the squad.
“We still have a little bit of sickness knocking about in the camp. Nathan Broadhead trained today so that was positive,” he said.
“Wes is now training with the group, he’s come through all fine, recovered well and he’s available for some minutes tomorrow so that’s a positive and we’re going into the weekend in a pretty good place.”
Michael Duff: (On Ipswich) “They were getting 25,000 every week in League One and they’ve managed to keep that momentum this season.
“I think a lot of the metrics last year said they were the best team in League One history.
“Momentum is a funny thing, they have a good manager and good players who have been together a long time, who knows how far it can take them.
“It will be a tough game for us.”
(On Style): “Every manager wants an identity. It’s about finding a way that works for the budget you have and the club you are representing.
“We are starting to look like a team we want to look like, who can press and get on the front foot.
“I would love in two-years’ time to be sat here and have people saying ‘that looks like a Michael Duff Swansea team’.”
Kieran McKenna: “They’re in pretty good form, in their last eight games they’ve won five and had a draw as well.
“I’m sure Michael feels like he’s starting to get his imprint on the team, and they’re certainly working very hard and look organised. They’ve got some really good players as well, so we know it’s going to be another really tough game.
“They changed shape probably about eight games ago, and since then their football has been really good and they have been pretty consistent with their selection.
“They know us well, we know they’ve been consistent with what they’re doing, and both teams are going to try and put their plan on the pitch.
“It’s going to be another really good battle and it’s going to be hard fought I’m sure.”
With a two week break after his game for the next international break the Swans could make a real statement of intent this afternoon. There have been plenty of positives from the games in this mini period but also the disappointment of that defeat to Watford still remains and that has left us probably behind where we expected to be going into this game.
Whether we make that back today or not remains to be seen but a good performance no matter the result and we can look ahead to the Hull game with confidence.
The game kicks off at 3pm this afternoon.
Match Prediction: Ipswich Town 2-0 Swansea City