Swansea City’s play-off bid has been placed on hold following the news that all football has been suspended until April at the earliest as a result of ongoing health concerns.
Steve Cooper’s side would have fancied their chances ahead of the remaining nine matches following a respectable goalless draw against West Brom last time out, but they must now wait before discovering their fate in the Championship this term.
It remains to be seen when fixtures will be resumed given the extent of the current health concerns, with there having been suggestions that the season could potentially continue or it could be voided altogether give the unprecedented nature of this.
In today’s FLW Six Pointer, we take a look at what the break means for Swansea…
Firstly, how were Swansea looking before the suspension?
“The Swans are currently sitting 11th in the Championship table following back-to-back draws, but they are still just three points adrift of sixth spot as they continue to push for a play-off place this term.
“Cooper’s men last fixture before the suspension saw them secure a respectable goalless draw against previous league leaders West Brom at the Liberty Stadium, with this reflecting the Swans’ improved defensive displays of late.
“Swansea still have a long way to go in order to seal a Championship play-off spot this season, but aspects of their recent performances would have provided some encouragement over their potential fate.”
In what way have the Swans responded to the virus?
“There have been no publicly confirmed cases of the virus within the football club at present, but Swansea have now taken the decision to close their training ground in response to the pandemic.
“The Swansea players have been handed individual training programmes to complete from home, while only the bare minimum staff are still heading into work as they strive to fulfil essential club operations.
“It remains unclear when elite football will resume following the EFL’s announcement last week, but the lack of activity at Swansea suggests they won’t be in action anytime soon.”
What does this mean for the players?
“The Swansea squad are currently maintaining their fitness away from the first team’s base at Fairwood, with the lack of full-squad training meaning it will be difficult for them to pick up where they left off when the season resumes.
“It is difficult to predict when matches will start getting back underway, but it seems likely that EFL clubs such as Swansea will need to undertake a form of mini pre-season training schedule in order to get back up to pace.
“However, an alternative way of viewing the situation would be that all players will now be more refreshed ahead of the final nine matches, but this simply depends on how long the suspension lasts.”
Can you score maximum points in this Swansea quiz? Have a go now!
What will this mean for Swansea’s loanees?
“There are currently six loanees in the Swansea squad who are expected to return to their parent clubs in the summer, but the terms of these loan deals could be altered given the extraordinary circumstances of this situation.
“This could see the likes of Conor Gallagher, Rhian Brewster and Freddie Woodman remain in south Wales until Swansea’s season is complete, while this would also seem to be the fairest option after recent events.
“Some of Swansea’s out-of-contract players could also be affected by the suspended season with players such as Kyle Naughton, Wayne Routledge and Mike van der Hoorn all set to see their deals come to an end this summer.”
What will be Swansea’s aims after the fixture lay-off?
“It will be interesting to see how all teams react to returning to action when the suspension eventually comes to an end, and Swansea will still have their sights set on promotion to the Premier League when the season starts back.
“The fact they are only three points adrift of the play-offs means they have an excellent chance of making the top six, and this will certainly be their main priority during the remaining matches of the season.”
Finally, do you think Swansea will want to finish the season?
“It remains to be seen how the current Championship season is to be concluded following the suspension, but Swansea would surely want the final nine matches to be played given their fate has not yet been decided this term.
“There are certainly some clubs who would rather see the campaign voided, but Swansea still have aspirations of pushing for a top-six spot which could give them a chance of breaking back into the Premier League.
“Their stance will be clear: Finish the season.”