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Swindon V Chelsea at County Ground : Match Preview
Published : 23 Sep 2013 17:30:59Rss feed
Swindon V Chelsea - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Two Ryans missing for Town
Swindon will be without Ryan Mason and Ryan Harley when they welcome Chelsea to the County Ground.
In-form Mason has a thigh problem that looks set to rule him out for up to two weeks while former Exeter midfielder Harley has a medial knee ligament problem, leaving manager Mark Cooper rather light on numbers with Aaron Oakley (foot) and Tijane Reis (knee) also out.
His options are boosted however by the return of Spurs loanee Alex Pritchard after suspension having missed the 3-2 win over Bristol City on Saturday but right-back Nathan Byrne will sit out the third game of his three-match ban and Alex Smith's knee injury has ruled him out.
Nile Ranger netted his first league goal for the club with just three minutes remaining of their derby victory and the former Newcastle striker looks set to start once more against Jose Mourinho's men.
Cooper is taking inspiration from Bradford's memorable Capital One Cup run last season.
Jose Mourinho's first domestic cup tie since returning to English football sees them tackle a Sky Bet League One outfit who are no strangers to giant killing.
They pulled off one of the upsets of the round as they deposed of QPR 2-0 last month and Harry Redknapp's men are in good company, since the start of 2012 Swindon have taken the scalps of Stoke, Brighton, Burnley and Wigan in various cup competitions.
Wigan were one of the many teams on the end of a Bradford cup upset last season, along with the likes of Arsenal, and Cooper is well aware of the performances underdogs can produce in this competition when the footballing world expects defeat.
"There is no pressure on us, if you do lose everyone expects it," he said. "We're going to play and use it as a no-pressure game and hopefully we'll play freely and enjoy it.
"It's a bonus game for us because no one really gives you a hope when you're playing against a team as big as Chelsea.
"When you play in the Capital One Cup sometimes you get drawn against teams who rest a lot of their players or all of their players so if they don't quite fancy it then you knock them out.
"That's what Bradford did last year - they had a great run and knocked out Arsenal and Aston Villa. You do take inspiration from that but whether Jose Mourinho lets that kind of thing happen I doubt very much."
World Cup-winner Juan Mata and Brazil defender David Luiz are to feature for Chelsea.
Manager Jose Mourinho has told Mata, who has made two starts this term after being near ever-present in his first two seasons at Chelsea, to prove his worth at the County Ground.
Right-back Cesar Azpilicueta, left-back Ryan Bertrand and midfielder Michael Essien are in line to feature for a Chelsea side with no fitness concerns.
And Steve Holland has backed the Portuguese manager to improve Mata, who was not in the squad for Saturday's defeat of Fulham and instead trained twice over the weekend.
Mourinho's assistant cited the example of Ronaldo, the world's most expensive player on his move to Real Madrid who improved his game still further at the Bernabeu.
"He (Mourinho) is always pushing, pushing the players to the maximum every day," Holland said.
"That's evident not just in his teams, but in the individuals he's worked with.
"If you look Jose's three-year period working with Ronaldo, he's really evolved as an individual. He's not just a talented dribbler and runner with the ball who can score goals.
"He has become a top-level match-winner who wants to run in behind, make runs, threaten the goal.
"I don't think that just happens. That comes with pushing, even if it's the best.
"On a day-to-day basis he (Mourinho) will be pushing for signs of improvement, working to progress the individual but ultimately for the benefit of the team."
To win the League Cup, Chelsea must overcome Swindon at the County Ground in a challenge which is not to be underestimated, Holland says.
Holland pointed to recent precedent - Bradford's march to the final which included wins over Arsenal and Aston Villa, plus Liverpool's loss to Oldham in the FA Cup - as reason enough for Chelsea to be wary in Wiltshire.
"The warning signs are there," said Holland, reflecting on Chelsea beating League One Brentford in the FA Cup by virtue of a replay.
"If you think you've got a divine right just to turn up and win games, prepare to be surprised."
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