Swansea manager Alan Curtis is confident his players will respond positively to being dumped out of the FA Cup by Oxford United when they face fellow strugglers Sunderland in the Premier League on Wednesday.
The Swans were the victims of the biggest shock of the third round when they were beaten 3-2 by the League Two side at the Kassam Stadium on Sunday, the latest in a long line of setbacks for the Welsh club this term.
Swansea won their most recent top-flight fixture at the Liberty Stadium, against West Brom on December 26, but that success remains the team’s only league victory since October 24 and they sit 17th in the table, just two points above the relegation zone.
Despite those difficult circumstances, Curtis believes his squad will produce a positive reaction for the visit of the Black Cats.
“We won’t let (the defeat to Oxford) affect our confidence heading into that game,” he said.
“We must look to put the disappointment of the cup defeat behind us, dust ourselves down and move on.
“It is disappointing to be out of the cup at this stage because it gave us an excellent opportunity for more players to get game time.
“We must now turn our attention to Wednesday’s game at home to Sunderland, which is massive for us.”
Swansea are expected to revert to a more familiar line-up after Curtis made 10 alterations for the trip to Oxford.
Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce recognises the importance of the game, as a win for Swansea will take the Welsh club seven points clear of his Black Cats, who are second from bottom.
Allardyce rested seven first-team regulars for the 3-1 defeat at Arsenal on Saturday and expects his team to be fresh for the relegation clash.
“This is going to be just as big a game as the Aston Villa one was for us, with the distance they can pull away from us if they win and the closer we can get to them if we win,” he said.
“Obviously, the planning for the Arsenal game was keeping in mind Wednesday and next Saturday (at Spurs).
“We’ll probably see quite a few changes.”
John O’Shea (calf) is a doubt for Sunderland, while his team-mates Younes Kaboul and Jack Rodwell (both hamstring) are also struggling for full fitness.
Key Opta stats:
-Swansea have lost just one of their last 15 league meetings with Sunderland (W6 D8 L1).
-Seven of the last 10 league meetings between Swansea and Sunderland have ended in a draw.
-Sunderland’s last victory away at Swansea City in the league was back in November 1963, losing four and drawing three of their league trips there since.
-Swansea have scored just 10 goals in their last 16 Premier League matches.
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