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Swansea City 1 v 1 Middlesbrough
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 23rd April 2022 Kick-off 15:00
Russell Martin’s dilemma with three games in a week for Swansea City
Saturday, 23rd Apr 2022 11:21 by @Cornish67David & Keith Haynes

There has to be a balancing act this week with three games coming up and Russell Martin wanting a big finish to the season. Set that against the supporters desire to see the likes of Cameron Congreve get more game time and there is a bit of a conundrum for the swans boss.

Middlesbrough are the opponents today, and then on Tuesday it’s Bournemouth. Two sides who are still hunting for points, Boro to keep pushing for the play offs, and Bournemouth for automatic promotion. Then of course it’s Nottingham Forest next Saturday, they too will look at that game as a must win. They have promotion ambitions as well.

The chance for Martin to blood a few young players in to these games on paper is difficult. He has already made it clear he wants to finish matters off this season on a high. You get the feeling that any thoughts of changing his personnel will only come in very small cameo appearances. That has been his script so far. The fact all these three games are big for the opposition, but not for Swansea will see more pressure on Martin’s men. There’s no sense in putting Jay Fulton in when Congreve as an example is available and will definitely be a swans player next season.

Cameron Congreve on his debut for the swans at Blackpool

Matt Gill speaking this week stated, “We’re trying to finish as high as we can but I think a top-half finish would show a lot of progression and positivity heading into next season. We’re second in the form table, we’ve scored 15 goals in these seven games, and there’s been some real progress regarding that and I think everyone can take loads from that and feel good about themselves” It seems then any chance of new blood is slim.

It’s the final big week of the season which starts today with Middlesbrough. Their no nonsense talking manager Chris Wilder has made it very clear regards his feelings on football players at this level, and we have to say we wholeheartedly agree. On the game he is also clear on his opinion on Swansea City, "They do pose incredible challenges for whoever they play against. They're a possession-based team. They can score, and they can concede. We can't score and we don't concede! I haven't got a clue how this one is going to go. They've got some really technical players. They're a front foot side and their results speak for themselves. They're in form so nothing is a given. When we get on that coach I expect us to give everything, as we have done."

The swans have a decent record against Boro, they have won four of their last five games at home, the last defeat was in 2009. Interestingly even though the swans are becoming renowned for dominating possession, there’s better out there. They still need a few thousand passes before the season ends to get near the 2016/17 total for Fulham which got them in to the play offs. We expect a committed and full on game this afternoon, Russell Martin wants as many points as possible and has a clear points total in his mind for this campaign. Chris Wilder could well see his play off hopes diminish further if they are defeated, so expect them to come out all guns blazing. They will be without Matt Crooks who is suspended while Dale Fry is likely to miss out due to injury. Long-term absentees Sammy Ameobi and Darnell Fisher remain sidelined, although Martin Payero is available,em for selection we are told as is Folarin Balogun.

As for the swans you can just chuck a few balls in the air as the declarations of player fitness in recent months have proven incorrect at press conferences. Cards being played close to the chest of course, but it’s misleading at times. We do know Matt Grimes is still receiving attention on his ankle but seemed okay on Monday at Reading, so if the words coming out of the club this week are correct the swans have a full strength side to choose from. And we expect Russell Martin to do exactly that.

Todays game kicks off at 3pm. A few hundred tickets remain on sale for this fixture for home fans, you can purchase your tickets at any time before kick off from the ticket office.

Photographs licensed from Reuters

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