This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Comment’ series, this content strand is where the author of the article issues their personal opinion on the topic at hand….
Swansea City failed to capitalise on some of their play-off rivals’ defeats on Sunday afternoon as they were held to an underwhelming 0-0 draw against relegation strugglers Barnsley at the Liberty Stadium.
Steve Cooper would have been looking for a response from his side following their 3-1 defeat to Brentford last time out, but they struggled to show any attacking rhythm during a frustrating afternoon as they dropped to ninth in the Championship table.
The Swans had been presented a golden opportunity to seal their spot in the play-offs heading into 2020 as a result of both Sheffield Wednesday and Preston suffering surprise home defeats, but Cooper’s side could not take advantage of this.
The Welsh side’s overall game play lacked excitement throughout the match, while they also failed to find a clinical edge in front of goal, with Bournemouth loanee Sam Surridge unable to convert any of the few chances that came his way.
Swansea’s attacking struggles resulted in Cooper making a bold change in the 77th minute as Surridge was replaced by winger Wayne Routledge, with the 34-year-old then leading the line for the Liberty Stadium side in the closing stages of the match.
This was interesting move from Cooper seeing as Routledge has rarely occupied this role previously during his career, while it also seemed strange given that the Swansea boss could have called upon natural striker Borja Baston who was also on the bench.
The Spaniard made an electric start to the Championship season as he netted five goals in his first five games, but he has only managed to score once since this hot streak, and this has led to him losing his place in the Swansea side.
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It is significant that Cooper chose not to turn to Borja when Swansea were desperately seeking a goal in the closing stages of Sunday’s clash, with this perhaps suggesting the Swans’ head coach has lost the faith he previously had in the forward.
The fact Cooper preferred a winger in attack over Surridge for the final 10 minutes of the match suggests the Swans’ boss is not happy with his striking options at present, and this means the Welsh side must delve into the loan market in January.
It has recently emerged that Swansea have made a formal approach to sign Rhian Brewster from Liverpool until the end of the season, according to The Athletic, and this would appear to be a positive move given Swansea’s striker shortage.
Cooper was spoilt for choice with his forward options earlier in the season with Borja and Surridge both looking strong, but it now appears that a further addition is necessary if Swansea are to get their promotion push back on track.