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What They're Saying: It's Gollum v Voldermort For Sunderland At Swansea

Roker Report is always watching, always vigilent. Today we're down the Valleys spying on tomorrow's opponents, Swansea City. Here's what their manager, players and fans are saying about the game Bob Bradley is billing as a 'cup final'.

Swansea City v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

It's A Fantasy Film Lovers Extravaganza

Apologies to both of tomorrow's managers, but we really couldn't resist.

Tomorrow's six-pointer at the Liberty Stadium sees Sunderland travel to face the side who have replaced them at the foot of the Premier League table - Swansea.

It's a veritable feast for fans of the two biggest fantasy films of the naughties - Harry Potter v Lord of The Rings, Voldemort v Gollum.

The Manager

Under-pressure Swansea boss, Bob Bradley, has been heaping even more pressure on himself all week in the build-up to this weekend's game.

The under-fire American, fresh from a vote of confidence from the Swans board, has ramped up the consequences of Saturday by claiming the game is a "cup final" and that the fixture is "my biggest game".

Tottenham Hotspur v Swansea City - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

The 58-year-old hopes to frighten his opponents, Sunderland, this Saturday but reckons he has the upper hand in the dressing room as his bottom of the table side welcome this season's usual bottom of the table side:

We have to have the group who seem ready for the challenge.

That is the work that goes on all week, talking to guys, seeing who is not fazed. We can be bothered and frustrated but not fazed or afraid.

Bradley, who has claimed his American accent has made him a target, reamed off a succession of ever more frantic state-side sounding cliches in his pre-match press conference yesterday.

On those want to make fun of his MLS-grounding: "They can hit the road (Jack) because that doesn't have anything to do with anything".

And on those who claim his New Jersey-isms single him out for ridicule: "If you worry about that and spend time covering yourself in those ways, players will spit you out so fast."

And of course, previewing Saturday's fixture meant Bradley provided the obligatory weekly nod to Jermain Defoe. In fact, when the former England striker retires (in a decade or so), opposition managers will struggle for something to talk about when facing Sunderland:

Everyone knows Jermain has made a career out of savviness in the way he moves and lethal finishing. He still find those little cracks and those little chinks. If you allow him to do that, he scores goals.

The Players

Meanwhile, Swansea captain Leon Britton is also fearful of the Defoe-factor at the Vitality Stadium this Saturday.

The 34-year-old, who is the same age as his Sunderland opponent, recalls with fondness the time he met his future hero some twenty years ago:

I met him when we were both 14. He was a goalscorer then and he has been ever since.

He works hard every day on his game and he also lives his life in the right way. He is a great professional. He is getting rewards... because he still looks as sharp now as he did when he was 24.

Meanwhile former Sunderland loanee, Ki Sung-Yueng, has the opportunity to escape Swansea's relegation fight according to WalesOnline.

Ki is best remembered on Wearside for some silky football but disappearing from England at the very moment he was needed as the 2013-14 relegation battle reached crisis point. The South Korean left to receive treatment for an injury to ensure he made the upcoming World Cup. In fairness, the midfielder had been suffering from tendonitis in his knee for several months, but the manner in which he decreed he had to return to his home country for treatment was a little odd.

Swansea supporters won't shed a tear. The Ki dream is all but over in South Wales after some disappointing seasons since Gary Monk departed the Liberty.

The Fans

There's a Premier League malaise in the Valleys, and it's something we can relate to. The EPL can be a dismal place when you're a) not one of the fabled top six and b) not doing very well. And that's where Swansea fans find themselves.

A manager they have no faith in after just two months in charge, a media mocking the manager they have no faith in, and shipping goals each week. Dismal.

So approaching Saturday's 'cup final', there's little hope or excitement to be found. Take a look at the misery that is fans forum PlanetSwans:

"All this doom and gloom and just when you think it can't get any worse... along comes an actual match and it does get even worse" - Marcham Jack.

"Well, to win we'd probably have to score 4" - SwansNZ

"I've brought Defoe into my Fantasy PL team this week. The inevitable extra points haul will be a bit of consolation when we lose 1-4" - JackSkellington

Haway Jermain Lad!

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