A second home fixture in four days provides Russell Martin with an immediate opportunity to build on the point and performance secured against Sheffield United. But it won't be easy as old nemesis Stoke provide the opposition. Will the sparks fly? The Pre Match Musings in association with Swansea Electrical Solutions aims to answer that very question...
There may not have been a goal or indeed many chances for the Swans against Sheffield United but the performance was enough to whet the appetite for this evening’s feisty little contest with Stoke City.
Sexy Russ will have additional riches to pick from as he seeks out that first Championship win to compliment the ever growing confidence in the passing game. Martin’s current crop of Swans will bring the entertainment whilst a clutch of former Swans will bring the spice; Joe Allen, Ben Wilmot and Sam Surridge all revisit their former home and of course Sam Clucas too – providing he doesn’t get mugged on the way to the ground and robbed of all those notes he suggested he has when trolling Swans fans in a previous encounter!
This one will be a real clash of styles and there’ll be plenty of saltiness as Swans fans have never really liked Stoke, dating back a long before Sam Clucas got shipped there.
Bring it ON!
Sexy Russ is quickly filling out his squad having added Jamie Paterson and then Flynn Downes to the three players (Joseph, Piroe and Walsh) recruited before his arrival. And yesterday the highly rated Ethan Laird became the latest addition to a squad now rapidly evolving from the one that secured two consecutive play off appearances, but bored the ti…but was difficult to watch.
The return from suspension of Jay Fulton is also most welcome. Fulton’s presence will no doubt make it more difficult for teams to run right through the middle of us, and he’s a better passer of the ball than many give him credit for. Plus he scored an absolute worldie against the same opposition in the corresponding fixture last season. Plus…he’s the ideal candidate to hoof Clucas up in the air at the first sign of him trolling the Jack Army!
Korey Smith will definitely be out, Liam Walsh is likely to have another letter from his mam saying he can’t take part in PE today and doubts remain over the fitness of both Ryan Bennett and Kyle Naughton.
Interesting to see who Sexy Russ selects from his burgeoning squad to meet the extra physical threat of the Potteries most prominent rugby…err I mean…football team.
Michael O’Neill’s Stoke side have started the season in decent form, unbeaten so far in all competitions – although they have looked a touch vulnerable at times.
O’Neill will be hoping that new signing Mario Vrancic will be fit enough to line up against the Swans after missing out last time out against Birmingham thanks to a tight hamstring. That came after a starring performance in the opening day win over Reading. Personally I hope Vrancic is missing for as well as removing a real threat, it will mean that Clucas can start and then get his arse handed to him courtesy of a Jay Fulton boot.
Also in the middle of the park will be our beloved Christ look-a-like Joe Allan, who is now not only the stand in for the Son of God but also Stoke Captain. His battle in the middle with Matt Grimes could be box office!
Ben Wilmot will almost certainly start at the back and Sam Sturridge might start up front. Sam Clucas will definitely come in for some stick – not because he performed like he’d had one foot nailed to the floor or because he cost a huge sum of money, but because he’s a classless oik. And he’s ginger. And gingers ALWAYS get picked on. I know. I talk from experience here 🙁
The Ed's XI
Decisions, decisions…selection dilemmas everywhere. Some are caused by injury concerns, others due to new or returning personnel becoming available, and some because the current occupiers of the shirt just aren’t working out (yes I’m looking at you front boys!!).
Steven Benda is pretty much nailed on to start. And he’ll be nailed to the goalpost by his foreskin if he allows another forward to close down one of his kicks – Herr Benda, you have been warned.
The signing of Ethan Laird opens up all sorts of possibilities at the back, irrespective of the fitness of Messrs Naughton and Bennett.
Should he come straight in it would allow Joel Latibeaudiere to move inside and occupy one of the three slots on offer.
Brandon Cooper will feel he did enough to claim another start whether Naughton and/or Bennett are fit to come back in or Latibeaudiere is redeployed.
Ryan Manning’s assured performance in a passing centre half role provides another option but it could be that he reverts o his normal left wing back role instead of the ineffective Bidwell.
Matt Grimes’ continued presence in a Swans midfield will please his current manager but perplex his previous one as it was said that Steve Cooper was unhappy at the impending sale of the Swansea captain. Oh well Steve, that’s football eh?!
Grimes often partner in crime Jay Fulton will be available again and will provide Sexy Russ with something a little grittier in that midfield area and it will actually a bit crowded there should Grimes remain and Korey Smith and Liam Walsh have better luck finding a faith healer in Swansea than they did in Bristol…
Up top is where the problems lie and surely the new “ripped” Morgan Whittaker will come into the equation – he’ll possess the physicality that Liam Cullen lacks and that could be vital against an uncompromising Stoke side.
I know what side I’d put out but this section is all about predicting what Sexy Russ will do.
So here’s my starting XI: Benda; Laird; Latibeaudiere; Cooper; Cabango; Manning; Grimes; Downes; Paterson Lowe; Whittaker
The fixture list hasn’t been particularly accommodating to new manager Martin and tonight’s fixture is another tough one against a big spending club heavily backed to be amonsgt the challengers.
There’s always an edge to Swans and Stoke encounters too and I’m rubbing my tiny, unfeasibly small hands together at the prospect of a right spicy set to!
The result is important but more than anything right now I’m looking forward to another excuse to get out of the house, have a beer or three with like minded people, and then watch an entertaining game of football where my side attempts to play with a bit of style and aims to win instead of trying not to lose.
Nah, screw it…I want us to SMASH Stoke, I want to see us bag five without reply, Morgan Whittaker bench press the entire East Stand, and I want to see a male streaker attack Sam Clucas with his dangly bits prompting Clucas to lose all control and get himself sent off and suspended for the rest of his natural born life…! But I’ll grudgingly accept a 3-1 win…