Swansea City prepare for big European night

Abertawe v Malmö
Sgorio

Sgorio

Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013, 13:36

Swansea City return to European football on Thursday night for the first time since 1991 when they entertain Swedish side Malmö at the Liberty Stadium in the Europa League Third Qualifying Round first leg.

Highlights of the game will be on Sgorio on S4C at 10.35pm, with former Swansea and Wales goalkeeper Dai Davies and Wales coach Osian Roberts offering insight into Swansea’s European adventure.

Swansea secured their qualification to the competition after winning the Capital One Cup in February with a 5-0 victory over Bradford at Wembley.

And Michael Laudrup’s squad has certainly been strengthened over the summer, having signed five new players for their first team squad in addition to re-signing midfielder Jonathan de Guzman on loan for another season.

New to the Liberty this season are Jonjo Shelvey (Liverpool), Alejandro Pozuelo (Real Betis), Jose Cañas (Real Betis), Jordi Amat (Espanyol) and Wilfried Bony (Vitesse Arnhem) with the Swans splashing out around £20 million in total.

And all eyes will be on the Côte D’Ivoire striker, Wilfried Bony – who scored 31 goals in 30 appearances for Vitesse last season – after the Swans parted with £12 million to sign the highly rated forward, smashing their previous transfer fee record of £5.5 million for winger Pablo Hernandez.

Swansea’s preparations have gone smoothly over the summer with just one goal conceded in seven friendly matches, but a competitive game against Malmö will surely be a tougher test for Laudrup’s team.

Malmö won 7-0 at Hibernian last week to progress to the Third Round and the Swedes in the middle of their domestic season, currently in second place in the Allsvenskan.

Michael Laudrup will be fully aware of the Swedes’ threats but he will also be confident that the Swans’ movements and slick passing will be too much for the visitors. Whatever the result, it promises to be quite a night at the Liberty Stadium.

Highlights Swansea v Malmö on S4C Thursday, 1 August at 10.35 pm