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Birmingham V Swansea at St Andrews Stadium : Match Preview

24 Jan 2014 15:31:00

Birmingham V Swansea at St Andrews Stadium : Match Preview

Birmingham V Swansea - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Laudrup deflects future talk

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup avoided directly addressing his future at the end of a difficult week for the Welsh club.


The Swans sit just three points above the Barclays Premier League relegation zone and the revelation that police were called to the club's training ground after a heated exchange between Chico Flores and Garry Monk has done little to lift the mood ahead of Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round trip to Birmingham.


Laudrup's future has also been questioned and it has been widely speculated he will leave the Liberty Stadium at the end of the current campaign, although the Dane has a contract through to the end of next season.


But the 49-year-old insists the club's current predicament means no-one can yet look beyond the end of this term.


He said: "How many times was I asked about that last year?


"I don't want to go into it again. I tried to answer it last year and the questions came week after week.


"It is not frustrating but with our situation I think no-one, no player nor manager, should think about next season, they should only think about this season for obvious reasons.


"Of course you have to ask questions, but it's about the present not the future."


The incident between defenders Monk and Flores has led some to question the unity and togetherness of the Swansea squad as they face a potential relegation dogfight.


Laudrup reiterated that arguments between team-mates are commonplace but said he had spoken to the pair, although no decision has been taken on whether the duo will face punishment, with the club unlikely to make public any potential reprimand.


The Swansea boss said: "It is never good when you have incidents but I played many years myself and it happens sometimes for one reason or another. You always read about them when things are not going well on the pitch with results.


"Both players, particularly Chico, wanted to close this, we have to look forward and say sorry. We have to move on, that's the most important thing. These things always come in difficult moments, and we are in a difficult moment, we have to admit that.


"If you win four in a row, even if team-mates raise voices and say not nice things to each other, it is not a story as there are so many positive things to talk about.


"I don't want to say it's no problem when people get into each other but you have to leave it and move on. It can happen when your pulse is up, you say things and react differently, you can have less patience when someone is telling you something.


"I have spoken to them both and I believe in dialogue. When people are back with a normal pulse like all of us here we can discuss it. People have to get calm again."


Pablo Hernandez and Jonathan de Guzman are set to return from injury for Swansea.


Winger Hernandez has been sidelined for over three weeks with a hamstring injury, while De Guzman has been hindered by a calf problem, but both are in contention to face the Blues.


Birmingham boss Lee Clark believes victory over Swansea on Saturday would top the Capital One Cup success over the same opponents earlier in the season.


The Swans were playing in the League Cup for the first time since lifting the trophy at Wembley last season when they were humbled 3-1 at St Andrew's.


The Blues would not get any further, losing to Stoke on penalties following an eight-goal thriller, but Clark is targeting another run in a cup should they manage to upset Laudrup's side once again.


"We are excited to be playing Premier League opposition in a great competition on Saturday," he told the Birmingham Mail.


"We really enjoyed the night we beat them in the Capital One Cup and the FA Cup is even more prestigious than that. We want to be going through to the next round, without a shadow of doubt."


Clark has dismissed any thoughts of resting players for the tie and keeping his men fresh for Blues' Sky Bet Championship campaign.


Birmingham are just five points above the relegation zone after winning just one of their last six league games and must host leaders Leicester three days after their battle with Swansea.


But Clark believes his side are better off going into the clash with the Foxes with a morale-boosting victory rather than sacrificing the chance of success.


He added: "I will be putting out players to win the game on Saturday because it would be a great feather in our cap if we could beat Swansea in another competition.


"It's not just about the cup. Winning becomes a good habit and going on an unbeaten run is a good habit and I will be sending the players out to try and do that."


Clark's men have struggled with injuries this season, but they have been handed a boost with veteran striker Peter Lovenkrands and Tom Adeyemi, who scored in the victory over Swansea in September, returning to contention in time for the game.


But the biggest boost to Clark's hopes could well be the signing of Manchester City striker Albert Rusnak on loan.


His parent club have given the Slovakia Under-21 international permission to play in the competition and he will give Blues a much-needed goal threat.



PA

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