Swansea V Stoke at Liberty Stadium : Match Preview

21 April 2017

Paul Clement says Swansea are up for the fight

Paul Clement insists his Swansea players have the stomach for their Premier League relegation fight.

Swansea face Stoke on Saturday back in the bottom three and two points adrift from safety with five games to play after an encouraging start under Clement.

A run of five wins from the first eight games saw the former Bayern Munich number two named the Premier League's manager of the month for January, but one point from the last six matches has put Swansea in real relegation danger again.

Asked if Swansea have the appetite to win their survival battle, Clement replied: "100 per cent. I've seen the players battling and going hammer and tongs in training this week.

"They know how important the Stoke game is and what is needed.

"I know there has been frustration from the fans, but I have seen some positive signs. We all have the belief we will stay up."

The importance of beating Stoke is not lost on Clement with Swansea's next two games being at Manchester United and at home to in-form Everton before facing Sunderland and West Brom.

Hull, who are two points better off than Swansea in 17th position, have a kinder-looking run-in, starting at home to mid-table Watford on Saturday.

"The fact that Hull are at home to Watford, a game I believe they will win, means Stoke is a must-win game for us," Clement said. "As we stand, it is out of our hands. If us and Hull win all our remaining five games - which is a big task - there is nothing we can do.

"But it is unlikely we will both win every game.

"I think we are going to need three wins and maybe another point (to survive), and we have still got to hope they falter."

Mark Hughes has emphasised his confidence that Saido Berahino will soon be scoring goals for the club, after 10 games without netting since his arrival from West Brom.

The 23-year-old forward made his sixth straight start in the game and was substituted by Hughes in the 58th minute, shortly after the visitors had equalised.

The decision to withdraw Berahino was booed by some Stoke fans, but the call was subsequently vindicated as his replacement Peter Crouch put the hosts 2-1 up by heading home a cross from Jonathan Walters, who had also come on just before the hour mark.

Asked about that at his press conference ahead of Saturday's trip to Swansea, Hughes said: "My interpretation is that a number of people didn't agree with my decision to take him off.

"It wasn't a reflection on how Saido was playing - far from it, because I thought he had one of his more effective games.

"But I just thought we had got to a point in the game where we needed to change things around.

"I think everybody can see he is getting stronger. He needs a goal, which is what all strikers need, just to settle into a club.

"He will score goals before the end of the season, we are convinced of that - and even if he doesn't he is going to be in great shape for next year.

Hughes is hopeful of having of having two midfielders back available for this weekend's contest in his native Wales, in compatriot Joe Allen - a former Swansea player - and Glenn Whelan.

The pair have trained this week after missing the Hull match due to a hamstring problem and virus respectively.

Goalkeeper Jack Butland was an unused substitute against the Tigers, returning to the matchday squad for the first time since fracturing his ankle just over a year ago.

And Hughes said regarding the goalkeeper's chances of playing on Saturday: "There is a possibility.

"He will get game time at some point before the end of the season - we'll see how he goes today."