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Swansea City 1 v 1 Blackpool
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 20th November 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Swansea City face dead ball specialists at home today
Saturday, 20th Nov 2021 10:09 by Keith Haynes

Blackpool are the visitors to SA1 this afternoon as Swansea City return to league action after another two week break. The Seasiders are away day spoilers and have a superb dead ball record this season, plus one of the best away records in the league.

The smash and grab at Sheffield United and the fighting spirit that won the points at Reading should be clear warnings for Swansea City. The most impressive result this season, away from home that is was the comeback at Middlesbrough. Two goals late on in the game overturned an early boro goal. Home victories have also impressed. Beating Fulham being a highlight to date.

Both sides are mid table, but in Blackpool’s case only three points away from sixth placed Stoke, the swans are five points away after QPR beat Luton last night. This game will be a stern test for the swans with many punters going for the draw. Ex Liverpool academy coach Neil Critchley has his team playing very dynamic football since their tough start. They took a while to settle.

Russell Martin knows the coming fixtures, three this week are going to be telling. “Our home form has been fantastic. We really enjoy being at Swansea.com in front of our supporters. They’ve been fantastic for us. They play a massive part,” he said. Blackpool are a team I've got a lot of respect for. I came up against them twice last year. They're really good at what they do. They are really well coached and have been astute in adding quality to what they already had. “I'm looking forward to it. They play to their strengths and it'll be a tough game, but at home we feel confident. We will want to show the same courage and intensity that the players have shown in helping us put together this good run at home.”

Swans fans can expect to see both Flynn Downes and Matt Grimes in a midfield which will also contain either Olivier Ntcham or Korey Smith. With an injury free squad we can expect Kyle Naughton, Ethan Laird, Jake Bidwell, Ryan Manning and one from Ben Cabango or Brandon Cooper in defence replacing the suspended Ryan Bennett. It’s becoming a predictable formula for Martin, especially when Joel Piroe is once again expected to start up front.

That formula will fast become one which opposition managers will be able to work out as games move on. That brings in the question, and it could be raised today. Will the swans be able to overcome a very dynamic coach in Critchley who is noted this season as being able to switch tactics mid game, but also starting games with differing strategies ? His side absolutely demolished Reading after going 2-0 down. Russell Martin will of course be more concerned about his own squad, but he does come up against a manager in Critchley who is seen as another young bright coach in the same vein as Steve Cooper, and indeed Russell Martin.

In amongst the heavy schedule going in to December,, which isn’t as intense as it could be, Martin is also planning to deliver a key strategic vision to Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan when they visit in a few weeks. Martin’s clear vision is seen as short term for January, but more importantly long term for the summer. "We won't be doing loads of business, I'll be honest about that," he added. "The team is proving they can be really competitive. There are some players not playing as much who would like to be, so there will be some people who will have to leave, whether that's out on loan or permanently. And there will be a couple of additions to the squad, I've no doubt, in positions that are a priority at this moment in time."

It’s a great time to be a swans fan, and to see how this young manager is implementing his vision for the club so thoughtfully and progressively. That aside today’s test is a huge one, and one which if the swans can pass will set them up for a busy week of EFL action.

Swansea City v Blackpool kicks off at 3pm today at the Swansea.Com stadium.

Photographs licensed from Reuters

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