Millwall and the Sky Bet Championship are back underway this weekend following the third international break of the 2019/20 season, and the challenges continue as Gary Rowett’s side make the trip along the M4 into South Wales to take on Swansea City. The Lions will look to end a run of three straight defeats against The Swans.
Rowett’s men sit 15th in the Championship table following our late snatching of all three points against Charlton Athletic at The Den a fortnight ago. Steve Cooper’s Swansea have enjoyed a strong start to the campaign, perching in fourth in the division just four points adrift of leaders West Brom. Cooper’s team revelled in a blistering start to the season – winning five of their first six – and suffered a frustrating dip before restoring some of their early form with three games without defeat.
Swansea are currently competing in the second tier for the second season of their current spell, following relegation after seven years in the Premier League in 2018. The club’s recent history has seen them build an impressive journey from the bottom of the League pyramid to then lifting the League Cup in 2013, and competing in the Europa League through the top flight for the first time. The Welsh outfit have earned two promotions from the Championship or its equivalent in the past, along with 12 League titles and 10 Cups in Wales. Alongside their League Cup triumph six years ago – their first English major trophy – The Swans also hold two Football League Trophies, the last of which coming in 2006.
Swansea brought in new recruits slowly and steadily over the summer, whilst clearing out many of their previous playing personnel. Jake Bidwell and Kristoffer Peterson signed on permanent deals, with Ben Wilmot, Freddie Woodman, Sam Surridge and Aldo Kalulu arriving on loan. Daniel James departed for Manchester United in a high-profile summer move, with Oli McBurnie and Jordan Ayew also returning to the Premier League. Leroy Fer, Wilfried Bony and Luciano Narsingh were all released from the Liberty Stadium, with Joel Asoro and Jefferson Montero among those to leave The Swans on loan deals.
Head coach Steve Cooper arrived at Swansea in June following the departure of Graham Potter to Brighton & Hove Albion. The former Liverpool academy boss has begun his first stewardship of a senior side well this season, beginning his coaching career at the age of just 26 as Wrexham’s head of youth. After three years in North Wales, Cooper moved east of the border to Liverpool, taking charge of their youth side for a five-year period before managing England Under 16s in 2014. He would then move up to the Under 17 side, winning the FIFA Under 17 World Cup in 2017 and reaching the final of the Under 17 European Championships in the same year. Still just 39, Cooper’s coaching pedigree is not to be underestimated – the Welshman has overseen the development of stars such as Raheem Sterling, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jadon Sancho, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Phil Foden.
Millwall have met Swansea in 48 previous meetings, winning 18 to The Swans’ 20 contests (10 draws). The Lions’ last victory over Swansea came at the Liberty Stadium in March 2008, Lewis Grabban and Jay Simpson getting on the scoresheet in a 2-1 success.