Ipswich Town host Swansea City in a Championship clash at Portman Road this afternoon (3pm). Mark Heath takes a closer look at the Swans...

Story so far

Swansea named Michael Duff as their new manager in the summer, having watched him lead Barnsley to the League One play-off final last season and get Cheltenham promoted from League Two as champions in 2021.

They then signed 13 players in the summer window, eight of them permanent.

As you'd expect with that level of change, it's taking a little while for things to gel at the Swans. Up and down is the best way to describe them so far.

They sit mid-table after their first 15 games, with five wins, four draws and six defeats to their name.

Most recently, they shared the points in a 0-0 home draw with Sunderland, despite having ten men for most of the game after midfielder Charlie Patino was sent off.

Unusually, their form away is actually better than their home record, which adds a bit of extra interest as they head to Suffolk.

On their travels they've won three and drawn one of their seven games so far, with a goal difference of plus two. That's the ninth-best record in the second tier.

But at the Liberty Stadium they're a lowly 19th in the form table, with just two wins from eight.

Perhaps a sign that, though they will be favourites, Town won't have it all their own way today.

East Anglian Daily Times: Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray praised Swansea for their spirit last weekendSunderland boss Tony Mowbray praised Swansea for their spirit last weekend (Image: Ian Horrocks)
Smells like team spirit

After that battling draw against Sunderland, boss Duff enthused:  "I thought we were magnificent.

"I think anything that could have gone against us went against us. But we played 75 minutes with 10 men against one of the best teams in the league.

"Until the red card we weren't good enough with the ball, but I want to talk about the spirit, people putting their bodies on the line and giving everything for the shirt.

"We have talked about togetherness a lot, in the last few weeks, and that proves it. They are together.

"We have had a difficult start, so much change in the football club, but the one constant has been the togetherness."

Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray was impressed too, adding: "Credit to them.

"They worked hard, they put their bodies on the line, they defended well and they'll be happy with a point."

East Anglian Daily Times: Jerry Yates, left, is Swansea's leading scorer so farJerry Yates, left, is Swansea's leading scorer so far (Image: PA Images)
Goals needed

They may have added a slew of new faces in the summer, but Duff still isn't happy with his attacking options.

Striker Jerry Yates, a £2.5m capture from Blackpool in July, is their leading scorer with four goals so far.

But Duff admitted recently: "We'll definitely look to bolster it... we've brought a new recruitment department in.

"We will be speaking to Paul (Watson, sporting director) to find out what there is to spend, how much there is to spend, if there's anything to spend, but we'll definitely be looking to bolster the top end of the pitch anyway.

"There's been so many things going on, we're sort of behind… because we've been trying to catch up with ourselves, with the amount of change there's been at the football club.

"But now we can start being pro-active and start actively looking for where we want to strengthen in January."

Though they've not been prolific going forward, the Swans' backline is actually stingier than Town's, with just 18 goals conceded so far.

Only six sides have conceded fewer to date.

East Anglian Daily Times: Midfielder Charlie Patino is suspended for this matchMidfielder Charlie Patino is suspended for this match (Image: PA Images)

Team news

Patino is suspended for this clash after that red card last weekend, while Josh Key and Mykola Kuharevich remain sidelined with knocks.

Joe Allen, Josh Ginnelly, Nathan Wood and Azeem Abdulai are longer-term absentees.

Duff said: "We are a bit short of numbers with Charlie suspended, and a couple have knocks so we will need to see where they are at.

"It’s all hands to the pump, and everyone who has been called upon has put their hands up and performed and we want to take that forward into this weekend.

"No-one is coming back who missed out last week so we will need to stay as resolute as we have been."

East Anglian Daily Times: Michael Duff watched on as Town put his Barnsley side to the sword at Oakwell last seasonMichael Duff watched on as Town put his Barnsley side to the sword at Oakwell last season (Image: Pagepix)
Duff on Town

The Swans boss faced Town twice last season with Barnsley, and had a front row seat as the Blues effectively secured promotion with that tremendous 3-0 win at Oakwell in April.

Needless to say, he's been very impressed with Kieran McKenna and his squad, suggesting they could even get promoted again this term

"They have put themselves in a really good opportunity to go again," he told BBC Sport Wales.

"I think Kieran has had a long time there now in terms of football, in his first four or five months they did okay, they didn't set the world alight, but they were obviously building something and then last year they were fantastic.

"They recruited well, they almost recruited for the Championship in League One, but we've seen having good players doesn't mean you will win, football isn't that simplistic.

"It's not whoever spends the most money always wins. Kieran has come in and has got a clear identity.

"The feeling around the place, because they've been in the doldrums so long… is fantastic.

East Anglian Daily Times: Michael Duff is very impressed with Kieran McKennaMichael Duff is very impressed with Kieran McKenna (Image: Ross Halls)
"Coming out of the Premier League, for 10 years whenever you went to Ipswich in the Championship, it always felt like the club was feeling a bit sorry for itself.

"Then they dropped down and it is almost the kick-start they needed.

"They were getting 25,000 every week in League One and they've managed to keep that momentum this season.

"I think a lot of the metrics last year said they were the best team in League One history.

"Momentum is a funny thing, they have a good manager and good players who have been together a long time, who knows how far it can take them.

"It will be a tough game for us."

Potential starting XI (4-2-3-1): Rushworth; Ashby, Darling, Humphreys, Tymon; Fulton, Grimes; Cullen, Patterson, Lowe; Yates