Swansea City will take on Birmingham City at the Liberty Stadium in the second round of fixtures in the EFL Championship.
This fixture pits two sides against each other who both had strong starts to the Championship season. Swansea prevailled in their Championship opener against Preston North End, winning 1-0 with Wolves loanee Morgan Gibbs-White netting on his debut.
Birmingham also started strongly, beating promotion favourites Brentford 1-0 courtesy of a near post Jérémie Bela header.
Both sides will be confident ahead of this fixture and both managers have spoken optimistically in the build-up. Swansea boss, Steve Cooper is expecting his side to start strongly, stating:
"We very much want to be on the front foot and confident with our game. We expect Birmingham off the back of last weeks result to be a tough game on Saturday, so we have to ensure that we’re ready for it’’. Cooper also believes that home form builds the foundation for a strong campaign in the Championship, saying ‘’It always has to be an intention to pick up as many points as you can from home games and we’re no different, every club is the same and you have to maximise that form."
Birmingham head coach, Aitor Karanka wants his team to play with focus on Saturday, he said:
‘’I like to take the initiative in the game, we will be organised without the ball and approach it as we would with any game in this league."
Karanka has added to his squad in the last week, bringing in former Birmingham loanee Scott Hogan from Aston Villa for an undisclosed fee. Hogan scored seven times in 17 games during his spell with the Blues last season, joining initially in January. Karanka was happy about Hogan’s permanent move, he said:
'‘You can imagine how happy I am. Scott is a player who everybody knows. He did really well here last year."
Swansea have no new injury concerns, whereas Birmingham will still be without Jonathan Leko and Josh McEachran, but Gary Gardner and Lukas Jutkiewicz are now fully fit and ready for selection.
Swansea City: Woodman, Bidwell, Guehi, Rodon, Cabango, Roberts, Grimes, Smith, Gibbs-White, Ayew, Lowe.
Birmingham City: Etheridge, Pedersen, Dean, Friend, Colin, Clayton, Sunjic, Bela, Toral, Sánchez, Jutkiewicz.
Ones to watch
After scoring on his debut, the 20-year-old will be full of confidence going into the game Saturday. Steve Cooper is currently playing the youngster in an attacking midfield role, allowing the creative nature of Gibbs-White to flourish. The pair last linked up with the England U17's squad, where together they won the U17's World Cup, beating Spain in the final 5-2.
Bela showed confidence in last weeks performance against Brentford, taking on the full-backs with blistering pace and precision. Bela often wasn't named in the staring 11 last season, but Aitor Karanka seems to back the Frenchman and with confidence, Bela can look to thrive this season.
In terms of previous meetings, Swansea have a good record against Birmingham, with the Blues unable to beat the Swans in their last five meetings in all competitions. The last meeting between the two sides was in July when Swansea beat Birmingham at St Andrews, with Rhian Brewster, Ben Cabango and Jay Fulton amongst the goals for the visitors.
How to watch
The game will be shown on each clubs 'iFollow accounts for the price of £10 and the game is also available for international broadcasting at ESPN+.