Is it now a chase for the second automatic promotion spot?

Norwich Head Coach Daniel Farke and Swansea City Manager Steve Cooper

Can Swansea boss Steve Cooper, right, close the gap on Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke? - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Swansea head coach Steve Cooper has challenged his players to relish being involved in the "lively" battle for automatic promotion as the Championship promotion race intensifies.

The Swans travel to Luton for Saturday's 12.15pm kick-off aiming to keep up the pace at the top of the table, having drawn 1-1 at Blackburn in midweek.

While Norwich - away to strugglers Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday - have opened up a 10-point advantage, there is little to choose between the sides behind them.

With matches coming thick and fast, Cooper feels his squad have the right mindset to deliver.
"We are feeling really positive, it is a great situation to be in," Cooper said.

"After a couple more games you are in single digits, not many more games are left. It is an exciting part of the season.
"We are right in the middle of a busy schedule and had to play an extra game this week because of the cancellation in January, so it is lively at the moment.

"We are trying to thrive in the situation. We have two away games coming up so we have to put a lot of emphasis on recovery and preparation, but the training ground is really vibrant. Everyone is enjoying their work and looking forward to the games."

Cooper added: "We understand that as the games get chalked off then certain things will intensify and increase.
"But we have got to work even harder to continue to do what we do and what has got us into this place in the first place."

Luton will be looking to produce a response following their 3-0 defeat at Norwich last weekend.

Hatters boss Nathan Jones is expecting another testing encounter.

"Swansea are doing really well. If they play well and are fluent, they can score and hurt you. When they are not, they are grinding out results," Jones said.

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"They are proving to be a very, very adequate Championship side."

Watford manager Xisco Munoz

Watford manager Xisco Munoz - Credit: PA


Watford head to play-off hopefuls Cardiff, who have turned their form around under new manager Mick McCarthy.

Hornets boss Xisco Munoz said: "We know we need to go there like gladiators, play very hard and give our best, with power, intensity and ambition.

"We know what we need and it is not easy the numbers (results) they have."

Reading, who are fifth, head to Nottingham Forest, while Bournemouth host in-form Barnsley looking to leapfrog them back into the top six.

At the other end of the table, Birmingham will be out to pull further clear of the bottom three when they host Bristol City.

Bottom club Wycombe welcome Preston, Millwall travel to Derby and QPR are at home against Huddersfield.


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