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Swansea City 1 v 0 Coventry City
SkyBet Championship
Wednesday, 24th February 2021 Kick-off 19:00
Swansea City v Coventry City : Something special is needed from Cooper this week
Tuesday, 23rd Feb 2021 09:00 by Keith Haynes

Steve Cooper’s management skill set is in the midst of some testing times at the Liberty this week. Restoring self belief and faith in to a side taken apart by Huddersfield on Saturday, and dealing with the extremely sad news that Jordan Morris has an ACL injury after being stretchered off in Yorkshire. That means the Seattle Sounders loanee is out, and will be for up to a year. Resilience is a Cooperism, let’s see how it works.

In quieter times as Cooper reflects on the ever changing Championship rat race for the Premier League, it must feel like a concrete jungle at times. Fighting one minute, happy the next. One day you are up, the next you are down, okay it doesn’t make it all right, but these are the tests undertaken by every football manager these days. Especially those who aspire to be successful. And with Coventry City on the horizon that isn’t an understatement.

Some managers would take the hit, and do nothing, but that’s not Cooper’s way if his twenty year coaching journey is your reference point. Yes, he will be saying to his players, go out there, enjoy yourself, however there has to be a mechanism that clicks the team back in to place. Most people will be wondering now how does Cooper motivate and inspire a relatively, let’s be honest, a very young side ? A side who have shown a drop in form since the scrappy but happy 1-0 home win last week.

Ryan Bennett sidelined at half time on the weekend, and doubtful for Wednesday

From the sidelines in Yorkshire on Saturday Cooper had what could only be described as a blank expression for much of the second half. He did though manage to drop the pressure on his young defenders by carefully reforming his teams defensive strategy as it looked like the result could be any number above six for Huddersfield - as the goals rained in. What Cooper did was manage the second half well, lost on some I know but shipping goals as quickly as the swans were on Saturday could have completely destroyed the confidence the side has grown in to this season. If you want to be a premier league player, a part of the international jet set, you have to take the knocks, to get to the top, we all know that. Cooper made some brave changes, shoring up his defence whilst hoping Morris could unlock Huddersfield’s leaky defence, it wasn’t to be, dice rolled, no luck.

Andre Ayew is key to getting it back on track on Wednesday night

On Wednesday night Coventry City are the visitors to the Liberty, fresh from mauling Brentford on the weekend, the two goal hit the Bees took made many a swans fan happy going in to the Huddersfield game. Then of course, the championship death punch arrives yet again, like a vicious gangster, and wipes the smiles off many a face. Coventry know the swans are not on the high of a few weeks ago, like Brentford formidable and seemingly unbeatable. Coventry changed that and will want more of the same as another behind closed doors game is played out in the ghost town of an empty stadium, bar the chosen few. And that is where the references end.

For many Wednesdays game is the most important for many weeks, but then that’s how they all feel. Eighteen games to go and half of them needing to be wins or maybe seven and three or four draws, it’s going to be close. It’s not impossible, a review of the fixtures to come tell us all it’s more than possible, but a resurgent Coventry are feeling very special ( I know ) at the moment, high on confidence and seemingly fearless. Their high pressing game is their key to getting the points, countering that and being fearless in Cooper’s ‘Non Negotiable’ areas will be crucial for the swans.

Coventry City haven’t had the best of luck with injuries this season but there seems to be some light on the horizon with Fank Dabo and Matthew Godden potentially being in the mix for the first team squad. Mark Robins has bemoaned his poor luck in the last few months, however he was upbeat this week. “ Dabo looks like he’s ready to train and be considered. It’s just a question of how fit he is and how quickly I can get him involved without putting him at risk too much. I’m going to have to be reliant on him, but having looked at him and watched him there’s no way he can’t be fit and training the way he’s training. He’s definitely put a marker down in terms of his standards and it’s brilliant to see. I just want to see more of that from him because he’s a really good, capable player. And with Julien Dacosta there, and Josh Pask as well, who has come in and done me a brilliant job, you have got players who can come in and do things. And the five subs can come in and make a positive impact for us. This is what we have been waiting for, to get everyone available."

Fankaty Dabo is fit and raring to go

Ominous signs for Cooper, his side will face a confident and very energetic Coventry side with Dabo back, possibly as good as Conner Roberts on his day, it’s going to be a test. Ryan Bennett is expected to be out, Jordan Morris we know about, Wayne Routledge is still a few weeks away, Liam Cullen even longer so a reshuffle is needed. We can expect Korey Smith to be in the frame for a first eleven recall, some would say at the expense of Conor Hourihane whose defensive abilities are clearly lacking as he was exposed several times on Saturday. A Swansea Independent view is Fulton, Grimes and Smith should start, Hourihane on the bench or even complimenting Ayew up front, or just behind. It’s unlikely but an option many swans watchers are keen to see. Resting an obviously tired Jamal Lowe should be a priority.

Korey Smith pushing for a start on Wednesday night

Another issue for Cooper is the match official Andy Woolmer, already under fire from Cooper for his ‘ personal issues’ this will be his first game officiating a swans match since his questionable performance a few months ago. A performance which left Cooper fuming and accusing the referee of holding a grudge and knowingly making decisions against Swansea. It cost Cooper a good few grand, but little has been said since. Many an eye will be on Woolmer on Wednesday night.

Woolmer has a ‘personal issue’ according to Steve Cooper

You can watch the game on SKY TV a on the red button or on Swans TV LIVE.

Kick off is 7pm.

Which tone will Swansea choose on Wednesday night ?

Are the swans still in with a good shout of automatic promotion ?
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