|Swansea City 0 v 0 Millwall|
Wednesday, 15th September 2021 Kick-off 19:45
Expectations are high tonight for both Swansea and Millwall
Wednesday, 15th Sep 2021 10:33 by David Cornish and Sally Wright
Saturdays away draw at WBA has lifted the spirits of Millwall boss Gary Rowett, his expectation tonight has to be at least a draw, and as long as his defence keep the swans quiet, maybe even a win.
Russell Martin hasn’t seen a home league win since his appointment and he is targeting tonight to kick start the clubs campaign under the swansea.com stadium lights. Saturdays home draw against Hull was disappointing but showed huge potential moving forwards. On Martin’s tenure to date Rowett did have some sympathy “It’s difficult,” Rowett said. “I’ve had it myself at Burton, Birmingham and Millwall. We’ve had some good success in going in and I think you change the psychology early on rather than necessarily the work on the playing style. “Of course that comes but it takes a little bit more time. “They have a very specific way that they want to play, it’s a very possession-based style of play. In my opinion, you make small adjustments initially and then more detail follows the more you work with the players and the more you see the players work and how they fare. It’s not easy but he’s been there a little while now and their style will have evolved from the first game to the time we play them.”
Its pretty certain that Rowett doesn’t mirror Martin’s style and approach, and we will see tonight how he counteracts the dominant possession of Swansea City. There isn’t a lot to separate the sides league wise, and if Rowett believes he can come to Swansea and win that could well open up the game in the swans favour. If not then Russell Martin has to convert the high percentage stats in to goals. On Saturday nearly 70% possession gave little reward other than proof if it were needed Martin’s way is indeed the right way.
Olivier Ntcham will want to start tonight after a positive debut on Saturday
Team news of note is that Rhys Williams will start for the swans after some concerns about his fitness after Saturday. Korey Smith is a while away from selection as is Liam Walsh. New signings Michael Obafemi and Olivier Ntcham will feature for the swans tonight as well. Ntcham displayed signs of pure class on his debut on the weekend. Martin has options at the back and in midfield with Flynn Downes admitting he was ‘very tired’ towards the end of the Hull game. Up front the manager hasn’t ruled out a two pronged attacking choice which would suit Joel Piroe and Obafemi. The only issue there is it cuts down on the supply line.
Gary Rowett not happy his squads injuries are directly affecting results
Millwall boss Rowett is still bemoaning his injury list. Striker Matt Smith is available after a nasty knock on the weekend. Rowett said: “He needed stitches but he carried on. He’s a tough cookie, Matt, I don’t think it was the first time he’d had a head injury” Liverpool loanee Sheyi Ojo wants to play but that’s a late decision. He played 42 games for Cardiff City last season. “Sheyi has not played a lot of football this season so far. I know the season is still in its infancy but he has only made a couple of pre-season appearances for the U23s at Liverpool,” said Millwall boss Rowett. “He might be one who needs two or three games to see the very best of him. I was really pleased with his first game. He has made an encouraging start with us. I expect there is a lot more to come if he builds on that.”
Expect a warm welcome tonight Sheyi, Ex Cardiff player Ojo up for selection
Benik Ofobe and George Evans are ruled out of this game through injury. Mason Bennett has returned to the side after an ankle injury but has only played ten minutes so far this seasons.
Russell Martin is very much aware this is a must not lose game, but it won’t prevent him from wanting to dominate the game and keep the ball regardless of the area of the pitch the swans are in. “We were frustrated not to have won last weekend, but the players showed they are moving in the right direction,” said the Swans boss. “The guys showed they are enjoying it. We watched the game back on Monday, and they saw the connections being made on the pitch. “To win at home in the league is important for the players. I want to experience it too. We’ve won at home in the cup, but now we need to do it in the league. “The quicker we get that first home win in the league the better as it gives everyone more belief. “We need to find the missing piece we didn’t have on Saturday, but that will come.”
It does sound as if Martin is slightly concerned about tonight’s game, but really it is more of a must not lose game than a must win. Millwall played extremely well on Saturday at WBA, they will have gathered a lot of confidence from the draw and scoring. Expectations on both sides are high, which could mean another draw, however, if the swans start ticking we all know that goals will come.
Tonight’s game at the swansea.com stadium kicks off at 7.45pm. Tickets for the game are still available from the stadium or online. You can watch via SKY Sports 🔴 Button. Millwall are expected to bring a small away following of around 120
Photographs licensed from Reuters
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