Posted: 09.01.21 at 12:59 by LAYTH YOUSIF
Stevenage are hoping their good form over the festive period can help them create an FA Cup shock against Championship high-flyers Swansea City.
Battling Boro, 22nd in League Two, face the Premier League promotion chasers from south Wales, who are four points off top spot in the second tier of English football.
Stevenage have progressed from four of their six FA Cup third round ties, with this afternoon's match their first since 2017-18 when they went out after a replay against Reading.
Boro take on the Swans in good form having picked up seven points from the last nine after two wins on the bounce.
Alex Revell's side started 2021 with an excellent 3-1 victory over Scunthorpe with two goals from in-form Charlie Carter, boosted by a late Aramide Oteh strike.
Three days prior to that, in their last match of 2020, Boro beat Cambridge 1-0 at Broadhall Way, with another Carter goal, who will be a big threat to Swansea.
Stevenage team news
Stevenage's new signing Chris Lines may feature following his arrival from Northampton, but loan recruit Matt Stevens is ruled out after playing for Forest Green in the first round.
Striker Marcus Dinanga has joined Chesterfield on loan until the end of the season, while Femi Akinwande has completed a loan move to Dartford.
The Lamex outfit will be further boosted by the arrival this week of striker Luke Norris, signed from Colchester United earlier this week, who could make his Stevenage debut.
Stevenage boss, Revell previewed the game, saying: ''It's the FA Cup and anything can happen. It is a great time for us to have because we can go into it knowing that we have given a week of good results and seven points from three is great, but we don't want to lose the momentum.
"We must carry on with these performances and keep on learning. Every day we are learning and the players are showing that on the pitch now and we are really looking forward to the challenge that awaits us on Saturday.''
Swansea's Kyle Naughton is back fit after a side strain and gives Steve Cooper a welcome option in defence.
Swansea are without Ryan Bennett (hamstring) and Joel Latibeaudiere (calf).
Cooper will make some changes for the cup but he is short of options in some positions.
He has lost loan signings Morgan Gibbs-White and Kasey Palmer this week after they were recalled by Wolves and Bristol City respectively.
"I am planning on taking all the squad to Stevenage," Cooper said.
"We have good momentum at the moment and regardless of whether it's a league or cup game, I just want to keep going and keep improving. We want to win and we want to play well."
Swansea have cut short defender Brandon Cooper's loan at Newport, but he is ineligible for the Stevenage tie having played in the cup for the Exiles.
Head to head
The last FA Cup meeting between Stevenage and Swansea was in December 2003, with the Swans winning 2-1 with goals from Kevin Nugent and Lee Trundle.
Prior to Stevenage played Swansea in October 2002 in a Football League Trophy match, winning 2-1.
However, Boro beat a young Swans side 5-0 in August 2018 at the Lamex in the Checkatrade Trophy, in which Terrence Vancooten and Danny Newton started.
Read Nub News for our coverage from the Lamex this afternoon