Swansea City will face a highly motivated Hull City at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday according to their manager Garry Monk.
Hull head into the contest perched precariously three points above the Premier League relegation zone, while Swansea are riding high in eighth having beaten Aston Villa last time out.
But Monk was full of admiration for Hull’s efforts in their thrilling previous outing at home to leaders Chelsea, where Steve Bruce’s men levelled the contest from 2-0 down before going down to a thrilling and sapping 3-2 loss.
“They pushed Chelsea all the way in the last game, and I was really impressed with them,” he told a pre-match press conference.
“Hull want to steer clear of the relegation zone, so they will be a determined side coming here.
“But we are focused on winning the three points, as Hull will be. They have always been close encounters between the sides in recent times.”
Swansea edged a tight match in December, as Ki Sung-yueng scored the only goal of the game at the KC Stadium – deflecting home a long-range Jonjo Shelvey effort.
Hull boss Steve Bruce handed his players similar plaudits for the Chelsea display but accepts it is time to put much-needed points on the board at the business end of the season.
“The way we’ve played over the last few weeks, the performances, have been good,” he said.
“Sometimes you don’t get the result, and we were close to getting a result against Chelsea so we have to take that into the next eight games. The tickly bit’s here.”
Mohamed Diame has recovered from long-term knee injury and, along with defender James Chester (shoulder), returns to the Hull squad and Bruce is delighted to have the powerhouse midfielder back at his disposal.
“He’s trained, he’s available,” he added. “Let’s hope he stays injury free because he had a wonderful start with us. He had four goals in seven games, it’s been a long time without him.
“Physically he’s immense, he’s terrific. He’s been off for four and a half months with a horrible injury.
“He’s ok. We’ve got to be careful with him but we’ve only got eight games left. He will be involved.”
Swansea will be without Tom Carroll after the on-loan Tottenham youngster suffered an ankle injury on England Under-21 duty, while winger Jefferson Montero faces a late fitness test on a hamstring strain.