Swansea City-Stoke City Preview

TOM BENNETT (STATS European Football Writer)
The Associated Press

Garry Monk will be looking to make it two wins from two as caretaker manager as his Swansea side travel to the Britannia to play Stoke City on Wednesday.

Swansea (7-6-12) turned in one of their best performances of the season with a 3-0 win over Welsh rivals Cardiff on Saturday, making amends for their earlier defeat to the Bluebirds. Despite the three points, Swansea remain perilously close to the relegation zone in a packed bottom half of the Premier League table, where nine clubs are separated by just four points.

Centre-back Monk took over as player-manager of Swansea when Michael Laudrup was sacked by Swansea last week, and the 34-year-old - who has played in all four professional divisions for the club - spoke of his pride after Saturday's derby win.

"This is my proudest moment," he said. "The players were magnificent. Half the battle is the mentality, if you can get the mentality right the football takes care of itself. We need to take the belief from this game and into the games coming.

"It doesn't feel like an audition," added Monk, who has been given no indication he may become permanent manager. "The chairman asked me to take over with the first team and I would do anything for this club - be it the under-eights, the academy or the first team. Fortunately it was the first team and there is no prouder man than me tonight."

Mark Hughes' Stoke City (6-8-11) took one point off Southampton on Saturday to build on last week's landmark win over Manchester United, but that win over the champions is Stoke's only victory in their last eight, leaving them just three points above the relegation zone with 13 games remaining.

"We had a fantastic result last weekend with our first win over Manchester United in 30-odd years and it would have been a real disappointment if we hadn't got something out of this game," said Hughes after the 2-2 draw with the Saints. "It's important that we get a run going and I was really, really pleased with what we produced today.

"I felt we were the better side in the first half, albeit we went behind twice during that time. We showed great character and no little skill to get back on level terms and then in the second half both teams cancelled each other out."

Stoke City have fitness concerns over Marc Wilson (illness), Matthew Etherington (calf), Andy Wilkinson (ankle) and Marko Arnautovic (ankle), while Robert Huth (knee) is out. Swansea City are expected to be without Marvin Emnes (hamstring), Jonjo Shelvey (hamstring) and Michu (ankle).

It was a thrilling 3-3 draw when these teams met at the Liberty Stadium back in November. Swansea thought they'd won it when Wilfried Bony completed their comeback from 2-0 down at halftime, but Charlie Adam's stoppage-time penalty ensured the points were shared. That was the first draw between the clubs since Swansea's promotion to the Premier League in 2011, with both clubs winning their two home games against the other by a two-goal margin on every occasion.

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