Oxford United v Swansea City: Curtis eyes FA Cup boost for struggling Swans


Swansea City manager Alan Curtis hopes an FA Cup run can kickstart the Premier League strugglers' season as they prepare to visit Oxford United in the third round.

Curtis was placed in temporary charge of Swansea after a run of one win in 12 league matches brought an end to Garry Monk's tenure last month and the club stalwart was confirmed as manager until the end of the season on Thursday.

Premier League survival remains foremost in the 61-year-old's thoughts and he conceded next Wednesday's potentially crucial showdown with second-bottom Sunderland will influence his selection against League Two opposition on Sunday.

Nevertheless, having overseen a solitary victory from five matches at the helm so far, Curtis is keen to experience the winning feeling irrespective of the competition in which it arrives.

"The Premier League has to be our main priority," he told a pre-match news conference. "But a cup run is always nice and we want to get back on a run now, so it is important that we start that this weekend. 

"It will also enable a couple of players to have some game time in a fantastic competition. We have to have one eye on Wednesday's game so there will be changes. But whatever team we put out it will be a strong side. 

"It will be a difficult game but I can think of worse places to go. Oxford play good football and have a nice stadium and we're looking forward to the challenge."

In contrast to their visitors, Oxford are enjoying a rich vein of form, having suffered just one loss in 15 matches across all competitions to sit third in English football's fourth tier.

Nevertheless, manager Michael Appleton was keen to play down the prospect of what would be a considerable upset should they win.

"We just have to make sure we try and play to our potential," said the former Manchester United and Preston North End midfielder on Oxford's official website.

"If we don't do that then the reality is we won't have any chance at all. That's a fact. 

"But if we play at our best and Swansea are slightly off theirs then they might have a game on their hands.  

"But Swansea are a top Premier League side and have been for a number of years now so it is going to be very difficult for us."

Appleton's selection options have been bolstered by James Roberts and Sam Humphreys returning to full training, while striker Danny Hylton pushed his claims for a recall by netting a brace in Tuesday's friendly against Birmingham City.

Swansea, who expect to have a fully fit squad at their disposal, were also in League Two when they last travelled to the Kassam Stadium in December 2004 - Marc Goodfellow netting the only goal in a 1-0 win for the away side.