Middlesbrough-Swansea City Preview

The Associated Press

Middlesbrough caretaker manager Steve Agnew has a tall task on his hands if he is going to keep the Teeside club in the Premier League next season. They'll keep pushing Sunday against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.

Middlesbrough's last Premier League win came Dec. 17, 3-0 over Swansea in the reverse of this fixture at the Riverside Stadium. What's followed is an 0-4-7 top-flight stretch that included Aitor Karanka losing his manager's job.

Boro (4-10-14) are in 19th place with just 22 points heading into the weekend.

Last time out, the Teesiders stumbled to a 3-1 loss against Manchester United at the Riverside Stadium. Rudy Gestede provided their lone goal on 77 minutes.

However, former Boro player Neil Maddison believes that spirit and togetherness can be a key factor in helping the club avoid the drop.

"You target certain games and we're obviously looking at these games as ones to take three points," Maddison said. "If we do then you're well on your way to safety.

"A good win would do us the world of good. Getting that win at Swansea would be absolutely fantastic and then, all of a sudden, the whole place lifts. We've got to show some grit and determination. The game against Man United it does fill you with a bit of hope that we can do it."

Swansea City manager Paul Clement has done a good job since taking over for Bob Bradley, as Clement has the Swans in 17th place and three points clear of the bottom three heading into the weekend's play.

The Swans (8-3-18) will try to avoid a third consecutive defeat after falling 2-0 to Bournemouth prior to the international break. Clement's influence on the team, however, has been obvious since his arrival, now defender Federico Fernandez hopes the club will get back to producing positive results.

"We have had some good results in the last three months," Fernandez said. "Around Christmas we were in a difficult position in the table. We have recovered well since then, but now we must keep things going.

"We have to work hard in training and work hard to play our football in the games we have coming up."

Swansea have won both of their last home games against Middlesbrough in all competitions, each 1-0. They have never kept three consecutive clean sheets against Boro on home soil.

Middlesbrough's win in the reverse fixture is the only time this season they've managed to score more than twice in a Premier League match.

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