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Laudrup expecting tough test

PUBLISHED

13:34 7th March 2013

. . . Swans boss looks ahead to this weekend's trip to West Bromwich Albion


Michael Laudrup believes his side are in for a tough test when they travel to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday (3pm).

The Swans head to the Hawthorns full of confidence following last weekend’s win over Newcastle – a result that moved the club on to 40 points in the Barclays Premier League table.

That leaves Laudrup’s men level on points with ninth-placed West Brom, who themselves have exceeded this season’s expectations.

Steve Clarke’s side were tipped to struggle before a ball was kicked, but the Baggies have impressed – none more so than on home soil where they have collected eight wins thus far.

And ahead of Saturday’s clash, Laudrup pointed to their record at the Hawthorns with an air of caution.

“It is a game between two of the surprise packages of the season,” he said. “Both teams are seven points clear of tenth place, and that is really positive.

“They (West Brom) have done brilliantly this season, especially at home and they have a lot of talent and speed, in particular with (Romelu) Lukaku.

“We always like to have the ball but they are very good on the counter attack so we have to be careful.

“But we have to go there and play the way we always do and look to get a positive result.”

In the reverse fixture earlier in the season, the Swans produced a scintillating attacking display to run out 3-1 winners.

The first half that night has been widely acclaimed as one of the best at the Liberty with Nathan Dyer, Pablo Hernandez and Wayne Routledge all playing a starring role.

And Laudrup admits that the trio could well line up against the Baggies this weekend.

“It was one of the best,” said the Dane. “We were fantastic in that first half, played some fantastic football with one and two touch movements and scored three good goals.

“It’s a possibility that they could all play. We have done it a few times this season and it has worked well, but also not so well on other occasions.”

Reports on Thursday claimed that the Swans are ready to turn Jonathan de Guzman’s stay at the Liberty into a permanent one.

The Dutch midfielder has impressed since arriving on a season-long loan from Villarreal, scoring eight goals in 35 appearances.

And Laudrup revealed that de Guzman would be more than happy to stay at the club after his current deal expires.

“It’s always difficult to say what’s going to happen,” he said. A lot of clubs are thinking about the end of the season; promotion, relegation etc so they have a lot of important things to think about.

“Jonathan is playing very well and he’s scoring goals. But he is happy here and I know he wants to stay here.”

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