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Preview: Swans Up First For Gus

Twelve days on from his eventual appointment as the new Sunderland manager, Gus Poyet finally takes charge of his opening game as Black Cats boss. His first task sees him take his side to Swansea City, where they will hope to kickstart their fight against relegation.

Stu Forster

Sunderland Team News

Gus Poyet has been dealt some good fortune before a ball has been kicked under his charge, with the news that Steven Fletcher is fit and available for selection. So too is, rather unbelievably, Wes Brown, leaving the new boss with something of a conundrum regarding whether or not he should include these long-term absentees. Keiren Westwood, who has been nursing a shoulder knock, is expected to be fit.

Poyet has questioned his players on what they feel their best position is, which could see some positional changes. With Ki Sung-Yeung ineligible, there is a possibility Jack Colback may move into midfield with Andrea Dossena replacing him at left-back. With Fletcher fit, it will be a straight duel between him and Jozy Altidore for the lone striker position.

Unedifyingly, it appears a certain Phil Bardsley may well feature tomorrow, though it is likely to be as a substitute at most. Poyet has asked for fans to offer the disgraced full-back a second chance - hinting that he could well seek to use him this weekend.

Swansea City Team News

Michael Laudrup has confirmed that central defender and Wales captain Ashley Williams will not feature tomorrow, with him still struggling with an ankle problem. Fellow Welsh defender Ben Davies is also likely to miss out with a hamstring strain.

There is some good news for the Swans, however, with goalkeeper Michel Vorm and winger Pablo Hernandez both pronounced fit. Another who may feature is Jonathan de Guzman, whom the club will make a late decision on regarding his recent groin injury.

Predicted Lineups

Swansea City vs Sunderland - Football tactics and formations

Swansea City: Vorm; Rangel, Chico, Amat, Taylor; Dyer, Britton, Michu; Routledge, Shelvey, Bony

Sunderland: Westwood; Celustka, O'Shea, Roberge, Dossena; Cattermole, Colback, Gardner; Giaccherini, Johnson, Altidore

Key Matchup: Lee Cattermole Vs Michu

Swansea's star man will come into this game on a high, having secured his first cap for the Spanish national team last Friday. It is an obvious one, but Michu really does have a huge effect on the fortunes of the Swans. Many mistakenly labelled him as a striker last term, such was his goalscoring ability, but in truth his impact comes from late runs from midfield.

It will thus be crucial that Lee Cattermole combats the Spaniard effectively. Cattermole, shorn of the Di Canio shackles, has been excellent in the past two games against lofty opposition. Now, he has a chance to impress against a side that Sunderland can look to get a result from. If he can negate the Michu threat, they will have a far greater chance of doing so.

Recent Form: WLLWL

22/09/13: Crystal Palace 0-2 Swansea City (Michu 2, Dyer 48)

25/09/13: Birmingham City 3-1 Swansea City (Burn 57, Green 61, Adeyemi 81; Bony 90+5)

28/09/13: Swansea City 1-2 Arsenal (Davies 81; Gnabry 58, Ramsey 62)

03/10/13: Swansea City 1-0 FC St Gallen (Routledge 52)

06/10/13: Southampton 2-0 Swansea City (Lallana 19, Rodriguez 83)

Last Time Around: Swansea City 2-2 Sunderland, 01/09/2012

Sunderland's last visit to Swansea had - they hoped - signalled the start of an era. Fresh from the summer swoops for Adam Johnson and Steven Fletcher, Martin O'Neill's side looked to kick their season into gear following the previous week's literal washout at home to Reading. Indeed, Fletcher made the perfect start to life on Wearside, notching two goals in the first half either side of Wayne Routledge's equaliser.

The home side came out the stronger after the break, equalising through Michu before Chico Flores saw red for a ludicrous high challenge on Louis Saha. Despite their numerical disadvantage, the home side looked the more likely to nick a win, and O'Neill left pleased with his points. Though Sunderland did not know it at the time, the side's inability to control the game or provide any great attacking threat would become hallmarks of O'Neill's ill-fated second season in charge.

The Ref: Craig Pawson

Craig Pawson's Premier League debut came a mere seven months ago, when he took charge of Swansea's 1-0 home win over Newcastle United back in March. This term, Pawson has already handed out a lofty 29 yellow cards in six games, along with two red cards and two penalties. This will be just his second Premier League game of the season, having overseen Cardiff City's visiting trip to Fulham three weeks ago.

What The Managers Said

Gus Poyet

It's a big contrast [to Swansea] - we have a few problems. We have changed a manager and we have got a new group of players.

But at 3pm, it's 11 v 11, one referee, two linesmen. It's about what you do in those two hours.

It doesn't matter what's happened before. Swansea are in a better balanced position - yes they are, it's true. But that doesn't mean that they are going to win.

We will go there to win. We need to win football games. We cannot go to places looking to get just one point.

Michael Laudrup

Sunderland don't have bad players - they have some very good players.

Everybody says we should win because we are at home and they are bottom of the table, but I know for certain that they will be working hard to get out of the run they are in.

It's the first game under a new manager and all the players will want to prove to him that they should be in his team every week.

Roker Report Predicts

Gus Poyet could have worse first trips as Sunderland manager - the Swans have not won at home in the league in eight games, a winless run that stretches back to early March. In addition, the Black Cats have frequently personified the 'new manager bounce' that can often occur, and will surely feel more at ease than they did under a certain Mr Di Canio.

That said, a point here would be an excellent result. Swansea are a cultured, effective side, and one that is more than capable of dispensing of the side that currently sits bottom of the league on a single point. We think Sunderland will double that tally this weekend and, though a win is clearly preferable, it would represent a solid start to the Poyet reign.

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