Ahead of Saturday's Emirates FA Cup Third Round tie against Swansea City, we spoke to Ian Mitchelmore of Wales Online to talk all things Swans...
- What has been the key to Swansea’s success so far this season?
"The Swans recruited very well in the summer transfer window, and despite losing players including Joe Rodon, Mike van der Hoorn and Bersant Celina in addition to seeing the likes of Ben Wilmot, Rhian Brewster and Conor Gallagher return to their parent clubs following loan spells in south Wales, they have more depth now than they did last term. It's meant that they have coped when players have been absent while they have been able to rotate in a bid to keep the squad fresh during what has been a gruelling Championship schedule."
- How much stock do Swansea place in an FA Cup run this season and is it likely they will make many changes for Saturday’s game?
"Given their ambitions of securing promotion, it's likely that they will make numerous changes for this weekend's game to give key league stars a rest. The likes of George Byers, Jordon Garrick and Liam Cullen are among those bidding to get minutes under their belt while Ryan Bennett and Joel Latibeaudiere should miss out due to injury. Others may well be rested too."
- How big of an upset would it be if Stevenage were to progress through to the Fourth Round?
"Even if Swansea do shuffle the pack as expected, it would still represent a shock if they crashed out at the hands of Stevenage. Steve Cooper gave a whole host of fringe stars the chance to impress in the third round last season, although it backfired spectacularly as his team were thumped 5-1 by a more settled and experienced Queens Park Rangers side. As previously mentioned, Swansea's squad depth is better this time around, and given that they're facing lower league opposition this time, they'd hope to have enough in the tank."
- Who has been Swansea’s stand-out player this season?
"It's an encouraging sign that it's impossible to pick one player. Andre Ayew's experience and end product has been tremendous, although Jamal Lowe has proven to be an excellent signing and goes into this weekend's game having scored six goals in his last six matches. Re-signing Freddie Woodman and Marc Guehi on loan from Newcastle and Chelsea respectively has proven to be something of a masterstroke from Cooper while the addition of Ryan Bennett is looking like one of the best pieces of business in the Championship. As for Connor Roberts, he's in the best form of his career right now."
- Finally, what’s your score prediction for the game?
"Stevenage have struggled this season, and even with fringe players involved, Swansea should have enough. 2-0 to the visitors."