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Welsh Football Weekend Preview: In Form Swans Can Feather Their Nest With Another Win At Canaries

By Graham Thomas

Swansea City are finishing the season with a flourish and head coach Luke Williams insists they owe it to their fans to stretch the feel-good factor all the way to the finishing line.

It has been a turbulent campaign for the Swans. They lost a head coach in former boss Michael Duff, a sequence of matches at the start of the season, and many would say their identity, as they moved away from their renowned passing style.

Williams has steered them through choppy waters – that included moving dangerously close to the rocks of a relegation scrap – and now life seems a whole lot calmer for the club.

They go to Championship play-off chasing Norwich City on Saturday looking for a fourth consecutive victory – a three-match run in which they have not conceded a goal but scored eight of their own.

With Millwall to come at home as their final match of the season, there is the possibility of a five-match winning streak, although there is a tough-looking assignment at the Canaries to deal with first.

DragonBet make Swansea underdogs at 7/2 to win at Carrow Road, with Norwich favourites to win at 4/6 and the draw priced at 31/10.

Norwich are unbeaten in four games themselves and currently sit sixth in the table, with a three-point gap between themselves and the club most threatening to snatch away that final play-off place, Hull City.

Williams seems to talk the language of fans, rather than the latest downloaded coaching manual and it is the supporters, he says, they still need to impress. 

“We’re going to fight for every single ball and, when we get hold of it, we’ll look to play nice football as well,” he says.

“Hopefully, if the fans see that regularly, they’ll trust us more. We have to earn their trust, they know what they’re looking at.

“You have to be the real deal and then, bit by bit, they’ll think ‘okay, we have our team that we respect’ and that’s going to be a nice moment.”

Further reason for thinking the Swans can at least stretch their unbeaten run is the way they have improved their defensive statistics.

They have only lost three of their last 11 matches and in those games have only conceded eight goals, an average of 0.72 goals a game.

In their 33 league games before that, there were 54 goals conceded against at an average of 1.6 per game.

Swansea are not the only Welsh club with reasons for optimism this weekend.

Cardiff City have won seven of their last 11 games, including last week’s 2-1 win against Southampton.

The Bluebirds can move into the top 10 if they beat Middlesbrough at home and could climb as high as eighth if other results go in their favour.

Boro are currently ninth and Cardiff would climb above them with a win, but the visitors are still priced as favourites.

DragonBet have Cardiff at 5/2 to win, with Middlesbrough at evens and the draw at 5/2.

Boro have not won in three games and have seen their play-off dream fade after previously taking 17 points from a possible 21.

If the Bluebirds can add to Boro’s recent stutter then it might yet convince Cardiff owner Vincent Tan to keep manager Erol Bulut around for at least another season.

The party has already started for Wrexham, who have long since clinched promotion to League One and can pop a few more champagne corks if they beat crowned champions Stockport County at The Racecourse in their final game of the season.

Wrexham still have something riding on the game, though, as a win would be enough to earn them runners-up spot, provided Mansfield fail to win at Barrow.

DragonBet make Wrexham 7/5 for the win, with Stockport at 6/4, and price the draw at 5/2.

Mostly, though, this match will be about celebrations for both clubs, whose ambitions have already been rewarded.

Manager Phil Parkinson says: “When the fixtures came out I think everybody looked at this fixture and thought it could be a season-defining game.

“Fortunately, both teams have got the business done early and it’s great for us to meet in what is a celebration game.

“We’re looking forward to a cracking atmosphere here at The Racecourse.”

The only Welsh club not enjoying their end of season are Newport County who have slipped to seven straight defeats.

Manager Graham Coughlan’s job is not under threat, according to chairman Huw Jenkins, thanks to the Irishman’s work earlier in the campaign, but everyone at Rodney Parade would feel a whole lot better this summer if they can stop the rot at Bradford City in their final match.

It will be a tough ask, though, as Bradford are ninth and can still sneak into the play-offs with a win and favourable results elsewhere.

DragonBet make Newport big 7/1 outsiders to win, with Bradford at 3/10 and the draw priced at 4/1.

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