Swansea City’s automatic promotion hopes are faltering and they might already be over following a dismal 1-0 defeat to Birmingham City on Friday night.
With Watford beating Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the day, Steve Cooper’s men needed a win to keep the pressure on the Hornets in second place.
But it was a performance that was nothing like a team who are pushing for the Premier League, with Swansea mustering just seven shots and going down 1-0 to their relegation-threatened opposition thanks to a late Scott Hogan penalty.
Now nine points behind Watford in second with eight games to go and one match in hand, Swansea must now regroup as they bid to get back to winning ways today against Preston North End at the Liberty Stadium.
Cooper must be thinking of making changes – here are some of the dilemmas that will be going through his head ahead of kick off.
Yan Dhanda to start?
Conor Hourihane’s return is not guaranteed – he was left on the bench for the Birmingham match after suffering a hamstring injury in the South Wales Derby against Cardiff City weeks ago – but Cooper is hoping to have him back for this game after just one training session.
But the midfield changes may not stop there as it may be time to give Yan Dhanda another start.
The former Liverpool man has got 21 Championship appearances to his name this season – 13 of them being starts – and he does offer a lot of creativity despite only having one goal and three assists in the current campaign.
He can easily slot into the number 10 role if Cooper persists with his 5-2-1-2 formation and would give North End something to think about.
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Time to change formation?
Since Cooper changed to a three centre-back system at the back end of last system, he’s never reverted but after three league losses in a row, is it time to go back to a 4-2-3-1?
It was so successful for three quarters of the 2019/20 season before he made a change but perhaps it is stubbornness as to why Cooper hasn’t bothered to switch back.
Cooper hasn’t exactly got a lot of wingers to choose from if he were to change formations but Jamal Lowe could revert to his natural position, Morgan Whittaker has been sitting on the bench since his switch from Derby and veteran Wayne Routledge will also be wanting minutes, so it’s definitely food for thought for the Swans head coach.