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Middlesbrough 2 v 1 Swansea City
SkyBet Championship
Wednesday, 2nd December 2020 Kick-off 19:00
Middlesbrough v Swansea City Pre Match news and latest Swans News : Updated Wednesday
Tuesday, 1st Dec 2020 19:31 by Steph Thomas

It’s all on again folks, and this time the swans travel further north to Teesside to take on Neil Warnock and his revitalised Boro team who sit tenth in the championship. This is a game that will seriously test the mettle of this young swans side, and indeed their young manager. Remember it’s a 7pm Kick off.

On nights like these it’s always testing. The Riverside last time around was a breeze for the swans in June. A 3-0 win led to manager Jonathon Woodgate being ‘relieved’ of his post. Warnock now a youthful seventy two today was the replacement, a man who just can’t leave football alone. At that age it won’t be so much about the money, he just relishes a challenge. Marmite he may be, but his achievements in football are unquestionable. Even at Cardiff.

Asked what he wanted for his birthday today he responded put a ‘nice bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape’ at the top of that particular list. Toasting it with three points would be another belated gift for Warnock following the news that the influential Paddy McNair has signed a new deal keeping him at the club until June 2024. Warnock, without Grant Holt (thigh) until the Spring, said: “We are probably about where we thought we would be, but I do not think that takes away from where we should be. “It is a big disappointment for me. I think anyone can get promoted in the league at the moment, apart from probably the bottom four or five. “After Christmas is the time to put a run together. If we can, I will be delighted. It’s an open league this year, although there’s probably still a couple of teams that stand out," says Warnock. "I don’t know how Norwich beat us, but it’s teams that can get a result like that when they’ve really got no right to get them, that do well. They tend to be the ones with the big squads, where they can rest players and bring players in. I think Norwich will probably be right up there, and then you’ve got Watford and Bournemouth too. They’re the three you’d look at because any of those could put a run of four or five wins together at any given time. "I don’t see anybody below those three doing that, if I’m honest. But you’ve just got to hope that other teams play well against them and everybody keeps making it an even league."

Andre Ayew will be at the forefront of the thinking of both Neil Warnock and Steve Cooper ahead of Swansea City's trip to the Riverside. Cooper will be trying to come up with a plan to get the best out of the striker against solid Boro, Warnock will be trying to work out how to shackle him. Ayew has been in fine form for Swansea, firing three goals in his last five outings. That said, goals are what the Swans would expect given the striker's reported £80,000 a week wage packet. "They've got probably the highest paid player in the league and one of the best forwards in Ayew," said Warnock in his press conference on Tuesday, identifying the threat of the Ghana international. "He's a match for anyone in this league or the Premier League."

High praise indeed from Warnock for Ayew

Swans Manager Latest
Cooper agrees with Warnock on Ayew's qualities, and says the forward is proving he's worth the huge financial investment. "I’ve always felt that (he's worth his wages)," the Swansea boss said recently. “Forest was a good day, there’s no doubt about that, but we have to put what happened to bed and move on and get ready for the next game.. “It’s a quick turnaround and one that’s not been too kind to us, playing teams that have had an extra day’s rest all the time. That’s difficult in this schedule anyway. “But we’re not going to moan about it, we’re going to get on with it and not let it affect us. “We’ll get ourselves up to Middlesbrough in the best shape possible and ready to go and attack the game. They’ve had a good start to the season; they’ve not conceded many goals and have invested in some good players. “Obviously, they have an experienced manager as well – that needs to be recognised. It’s going to be as tough a game as any away from home and we need to be ready, but we will be.” Boro have lost two of their last three games, which came on the back of a 10-game unbeaten sequence that had them in the play-off places. They have conceded just nine goals in their 14 league games – only the Swans have let in fewer in the Championship – and Cooper is expecting Neil Warnock’s side to provide a stern test. We respect what we’re coming up against and the managers that coach the teams; you have to,” added Cooper. But our idea is what we bring to every game and that will be no different. You have to recognise what Neil’s done in the game; his longevity and the amount of promotions. “We analyse every game the same and look at how a team plays, what their strengths are and what their weaknesses are. We have nothing but respect for that, but then we must get our own house in order and try to put the best plan together with the idea of what we do being the most important. “I know they got beat at Huddersfield, but they’re generally in good form, it will be another tough game.”

Grant Holt out
Grant Holt looks set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after picking up a thigh injury. The Middlesbrough man has endured a frustrating time since moving to the Riverside Stadium from Queens Park Rangers over the summer. Holt has been limited to just four appearances so far this term with the defender not featuring for the club since the end of September due to an ongoing injury struggle.The 29-year-old was on the cusp of a return but according to Warnock, Holt could now potentially be out until early April next year with a new injury.

Boro highlights in recent times
Boro famously reached the UEFA Cup final in 2006 while, in a successful 2004-05 season, they secured League Cup glory by beating Bolton Wanderers. The Riverside club also reached an FA Cup final during that time, but fell short against Chelsea in 1997, losing 2-0.

Grant Holt out until at least April 2021

This is ‘one of those games’ it’s not a must win, it’s a must not lose. Away from home Cooper knows this. The hard work was done on Sunday in a 1-0 defeat of Nottingham Forest at the City ground. In a game where the hard work of the swans midfield went unnoticed by many with Grimes and Smith coming in for some stick, Cooper knows these two defensively as a pairing are his best bet to maintain a decent restart to the season. He has the powerful Kasey Palmer on the bench, and Yan Dhanda to push hard if game plans stutter, but for us here and now a draw would be very respectable before Luton Town arrive at the Liberty on Saturday.

No fans at the Welsh derby
Wales' new restrictions are the equivalent of Tier 3 in Scotland and England, where spectators are not allowed to attend events Sports events in Wales, meanwhile, will continue behind closed doors in light of the Welsh Government bringing in new national restrictions, whereby all cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants must close at 6pm and not sell alcohol at any time and indoor attractions like cinemas and bowling alleys must close for the foreseeable future.

Swansea City 0 Cardiff City 0 when it comes to fans at the next derby game

As further restrictions are put on the hospitality sector in light of increasing Covid-19 cases, it appears it would not make sense to open up another section of society - like sports events - while working to limit another. The restrictions coming into force on Friday, December 4, at 6pm will next be reviewed on December 17, and then every three weeks - meaning fans' chances of a return to stadiums this year appear slim, especially when factoring in notice which would need to be given to prepare.

It categorically rules out fans attending the South Wales derby between Cardiff City and Swansea City on Saturday, December 12,

Team news on the forum Matchday thread.

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