Swansea City head coach Steve Cooper said his players are "battered and bruised" ahead of the highly-anticipated clash against Fulham on Friday night.
The boss addressed the media during his press call on Thursday to update supporters on the fitness of his squad, with a question mark hanging over the availability of key man Mike van der Hoorn.
The centre-back was injured against Huddersfield and was withdrawn at half-time. Should the Dutchman miss the game, Cooper says he has complete faith in Ben Cabango, who came in at the John Smith's Stadium and did incredibly welll.
Cooper also touched on his side's poor home form and explained why he thinks they are struggling.
"It’s annoying," he said.
"Teams have set up against us to not get beat at home. That does pose a problem and it’s a bit frustrating. We’ve not done two things. We’ve not broken through defences and we’ve given away sloppy goals. We’re aware of it, but it’s in the past and the only way to deal with it is to look at the next one.
"We want to be putting the home form right. We don’t want to shy away from it."You can catch up with everything that was said in our blog below
That’s all from the boss.
We’ll have the top line for you soon.
Would you be happy after the New year sitting sixth?
I don’t think we’d ever be completely happy. I always want us to strive for more. I want more and until we get to the end we can address if we’ll be happy. We can’t look further than the next game. That’s not the right thing to do
Frantic period of games
Everyone knows when you get past the third international break it’s a bit of a slog to the next one. This week particularly hasn’t fallen in our favour in our schedule.
I’ve got to say that the supporters who travelled to Huddersfield - we’re really grateful for the effort.
It’s a tough schedule but we knew it was coming.
Top teams starting to pull away from everyone else. Division taking shape?
It is because you’re coming up to 20 games in. You’ve got some teams in positions you’d expect and others punching high above expectations and the other way too.
There’ll be surprises this weekend. It’s hard to predict that’s for sure
He’s done it in the PL and he’s got something like 13 goals before this. He’ll be a right handful but you have to deal with it. You can’t shy away from it. You have to back yourselves.
Fulham expected to attack
They play good football and they’re a Premier League squad. They could compete week in week out in the Premier League. So I’m not surprised they’re doing well and playing good football. I think they will try and play the way they play, but we’ll focus on ourselves and what we bring to the table
More on home form
Without sitting on the fence, we’ve never had two games the same home or away. Form is form but momentum is a totally different thing.
I think teams will be a bit more open when we’re away. We don’t change, we try to play the way we play. The intention is to play a certain way. We’ve also put emphasis on our defending this year and that’s been good away from home.
But the plan doesn’t change. We take each game as it comes and I think consistency of approach is important.
Back home after good away form
It’s annoying. Teams have set up against us to not get beat at home. That does pose a problem and it’s a bit frustrating. We’ve not done two things. We’ve not broken through defences and we’ve given away sloppy goals. We’re aware of it, but it’s in the past and the only way to deal with it is to look at the next one.
We want to be putting the home form right. We don’t want to shy away from it.
Rodon an example of how that can work?
I think the league’s been good for that. Look at Aarons at Norwich and Mason Mount. There’s more examples at this club than just Joe. I think the league is good for breeding young players. They’re getting good coaching programs and hopefully if they’re called upon they’ll be ready.
Cabango and Wilmot - youthful pairing?
It is. But I’m excited by that. Young players need a chance and often they surprise you. It doesn’t worry me that’s for sure. There will be some downs but we won’t think any less of them if they make mistakes. Every established player in our first team will have had mixed experiences when they first broke through
I’d be quite excited to give young players a chance that’s for sure.
Centre-back looking thin?
Four CBs is pretty normal in the squad. Obviously Joe’s out longer term. Another injury there is a little problematic. Naughton can play there. Bidwell’s played there on many occasions. You have that plan B. I’ve no problems with Benny Cabango either.
I don’t think Mike will be out long-term but if he is out for a bit it could be a problem
VDH not too bad then?
We don’t know. We hope he’ll be okay. It was a bad tackle and a disappointing one I have to say. All the boys will be desperate to play. They’re giving themselves every chance.
Nathan and Wayne problems?
Kicks. It’s one of them that when you’re playing Saturday to Saturday it’s easy to come back but not when you’ve got a game on Tuesday.
Wayne has a bit of a muscle injury. Hopefully he’ll be okay
Joe obviously out. Jordon too. Aldo’s back training and nearly available for selection. He’ll play in the u23s on Saturday. We have to be careful with that one. Nathan’s touch and go. Mike is the same.
The players aren’t in yet. They’re in this afternoon. So we’re a bit battered and bruised from a heavy week but we’re trying to give everyone as much time as possible
The gaffer will be here soon. Any questions for him?
We will get the chance to put questions to him after the conference finishes.
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Cabango to start?
We’ll get more on this shortly, but Cabango showed on Tuesday night that he is a dependable option should Cooper call on him tomorrow.
His performance was impressive - and the whole team showed their appreciation in the changing room.
On Cooper's agenda
What will likely be discussed this afternoon?
The skipper speaks
One man who is looking forward to the game against the Cottagers is skipper Matt Grimes. Friday-night lights get the juices flowing.
He told the club website:
The Huddersfield result has given us something to build on going into Friday. We know it will be a tough game; we know the threats that they possess. After last weekend, we’re eager to bounce back at home, put in a strong performance and show the character that we did on Tuesday. We must also try to play some of our better football if we can. It’s up to us how we respond; that can only be positively – there’s no other option for us. I thought we made a step in the right direction on Tuesday. We will be looking to impose ourselves. We know there’s nothing better than a night game under the lights at the Liberty; it’s always a special occasion. We’re looking forward to it and there’s probably added emphasis for us off the back of losing to Millwall on Saturday. It’s important to try to build momentum. A win would be a perfect way to kick-start another good run. We must keep trying to impose ourselves in games and, hopefully, that will lead to positive performances and wins.
Hello and welcome to today’s coverage of Steve Cooper’s press conference.
We’ll be getting the boss on the latest news ahead of the game against Fulham tomorrow evening.