Sky Sports EFL pundit David Prutton has suggested that Swansea City will be able to recover their form and get back to winning ways against Preston, despite them having renewed confidence from their Norwich City draw.
Swansea have seen their form falter at the worst possible stage of the campaign, with Steve Cooper’s side falling to a third straight Championship defeat losing 1-0 away at Birmingham City on Good Friday.
The Swans had already seen Watford pile the pressure on them earlier in the day by picking up a sixth successive win against Sheffield Wednesday and they were not able to match that.
Cooper’s side as a result head into the game nine points adrift of Watford, albeit with a game in hand, and they could be even further back if the Hornets win the early kick-off at Middlesbrough. Swansea are therefore facing a scenario where they simply can not afford to keep dropping points if they are to have any chance of reaching the top two.
The Welsh side will have to get back in form in the final third, with them having failed to score in any of their last three matches and they had become somewhat over-reliant on Andre Ayew converting penalties in previous wins. Time is now of the essence for them to start firing again and putting wins on the board.
Preston, meanwhile, head into the game free from pressure really with them sitting ten points clear of the relegation zone. Although, the Lilywhites do have to be wary that Rotherham United still have games hand to play that could alter the picture slightly.
However, they did manage to show some fighting spirit with a late equaliser to hold league leaders Norwich to a draw on Friday.
It is a case of a few more points or another win might well be enough for Preston to be assured of their safety. That means that they will be able to relax a little whilst all of the pressure is piled onto their opponents.
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Making his latest predictions for Sky Sports, Prutton suggested that Swansea would be able to get their automatic promotion hopes back on track and could find goals again in the last third. While he also believes that Preston will be buoyed by the point they secured against Norwich. He predicts a 2-1 win for Cooper’s side.
He wrote: “It’s now three games without scoring for Steve Cooper’s men who are faltering in front of goal at a less than ideal point in the season. I do wonder how conceding that last-minute penalty against Birmingham on Friday will affect them on a mental level.
“Preston will undoubtedly have a spring in their step after that dramatic draw against leaders Norwich at Deepdale a few days ago but with 10 points between themselves and the bottom three, there’s not much at stake for them at this stage. Home win.”
It is hard to disagree with Prutton’s verdict here, with Swansea certainly needing the points more than Preston do at the moment. However, that will bring a lot of pressure on them and it will be interesting to see how Cooper’s side manage to respond to the late goal they conceded against Birmingham. It might inspire them, or potentially affect their mentality.
Preston seem to have now turned a corner somewhat after grabbing a point against Norwich and it was a result that should give the players confidence to take into the remaining matches. There are some players playing for their futures so the Lilywhites will know they can not afford to just drift through the final matches.
As for Swansea, they have to believe that Watford will yet slip up and that if they do they will be there to take advantage of the situation. Brentford were far adrift of West Brom at this stage last term, but the Bees nearly pulled it back and that has to be inspiration for Cooper’s side.