Both Swansea and Fulham know they are on the verge of a relegation scrap ahead of their meeting at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Michael Laudrup's Swansea (5-6-11) have failed to win in eight games, picking up just three points in that run, and have found themselves only three points clear of the relegation zone. However, two goals from striker Wilfried Bony helped the Swans to a 2-1 win over Birmingham City in the FA Cup on Saturday, and Laudrup is hoping that the victory will inspire his players to an improvement in the league.
"This result gives us confidence, even if this is another competition, which might be seen as a downside by some," said Laudrup. "In our case we are still in three competitions; is that good or bad? I think it is a good thing as it gives your players games and experience. I understand some people think it would be better to concentrate on one - the Premier League - but I still believe it is always better to win games than to lose no matter what competition.
"I'm very happy. It would have been very bad in our situation to have had to face a replay. That would have meant five consecutive midweek games for us with Premier League games and our Europa League games against Napoli coming up. But we recovered well to get the win."
Fulham (6-1-15) hoped that replacing Martin Jol as manager would halt the club's poor form, but they have lost five of their last seven in the league to fall within one point of the drop zone. The Cottagers were taken to an FA Cup replay with a 1-1 draw against Sheffield United on Sunday, but new boss Rene Meulensteen was keen to take positives from the performance.
"If there are positives to take out of the game it is that we are still in FA Cup and the young players did well," said Meulensteen, who also defended the weakened side he named for the game. "I think every person with a bit of common sense can understand. If one person respects the FA Cup it's me, and I'd love to stay in it. But we play Sunday for television and then go to Swansea on Tuesday.
"Every man with a little common sense understands you have to maximise your possibilities and minimise your risk. That's what we are doing. The Swansea game is important to us so it works two ways: It gives a chance to the players who are going to face Swansea to have an extended preparation and a chance for the others to play here."
Swansea have injury doubts over Angel Rangel (calf), Jonjo Shelvey (hamstring), Jonathan de Guzman (calf), Michel Vorm (knee) and Nathan Dyer (ankle), while Jose Canas (ankle) and Michu (ankle) are out. Fulham have concerns over the fitness of John Arne Riise (hamstring), Fernando Amorebieta (knee), Neil Etheridge (hip) and Matthew Briggs (groin).
The Swans have won just twice at home all season, but visitors Fulham have conceded a league-high 26 outside Craven Cottage and a league-worst 48 in total.
Swansea won 2-1 at Craven Cottage in the reverse fixture, with Shelvey scoring the winner 10 minutes from time.
- Sports & Recreation
- Michael Laudrup