Premier League Preview: Swansea City v Southampton
By Football News
Garry Monk's audition for the role of head coach continues on Saturday as Swansea City host Southampton in the Premier League.
The 35-year-old, who started his career with Southampton, has been in the Liberty Stadium hot seat since the departure of former boss Michael Laudrup in February.
After opening his reign with a morale-boosting 3-0 win in the south Wales derby against Cardiff City, Monk then failed to register a victory in the following nine fixtures in all competitions.
However, a 2-1 win at Newcastle United and a 4-1 triumph over Aston Villa have given Swansea their first back-to-back victories since December 2012 and assured them of their Premier League status for another season with a points tally of 39.
But Monk refuses to rest on his laurels and has targeted the 40-point mark in his bid to win over the Swansea board - reportedly due to discuss his future in the coming days - and secure the job on a permanent basis.
"We want to break the 40-point barrier and that is the drive for us now," he said. "With everything that has gone on this season, if we get past that total, no-one can ever question us.
"We've had tough times and we haven't performed as well in certain games, but ultimately we've done our job."
In the context of the battles taking place at both ends of the league, this match is off little consequence, with both sides now able to look ahead to another season in the top flight.
While Swansea and Monk chase down the 40 points, Southampton will be celebrating their highest Premier League points total for a 38-game season if they avoid defeat this weekend.
However, the men from the south coast do not tend to travel well to south Wales, failing to pick up a win on their last seven visits, dating back to 1962.
Southampton's home form against Swansea is far better, and they picked up a 2-0 victory when these sides met at St Mary's Stadium back in October.
Doubts remain over the fitness of Michu (ankle), while Swansea full-back Angel Rangel has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a groin strain, which could see Dwight Tiendalli step in, although Neil Taylor or Kyle Bartley may be preferred to play out of position.
Spanish duo Alejandro Pozuelo and Jose Canas have drifted out of the first-team squad under Monk, casting doubt over their respective Swansea futures, but Jay Fulton could be involved again after coming off the bench to make his debut against Villa last weekend.
Chico Flores is available for selection after serving a two-match suspension, while Southampton will hope to welcome Morgan Schneiderlin back to the fold after he sat out last week's win over Everton.