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Swansea and Boro struggles give Riverside clash added significance, says Bradley


Swansea manager Bob Bradley knows the importance of Saturday's Premier League clash at Middlesbrough

Swansea manager Bob Bradley knows the importance of Saturday's Premier League clash at Middlesbrough

Swansea manager Bob Bradley knows the importance of Saturday's Premier League clash at Middlesbrough

Bob Bradley believes the respective Premier League positions of his Swansea team and Saturday's opponents Middlesbrough give their Riverside clash added importance.

Swansea head north on the back of a 3-1 defeat at West Brom, while they have collected just one point from seven away league games since an opening weekend victory over Burnley.

Currently lying 18th in the table, one place below Middlesbrough, Swansea's final game before Christmas is a crucial encounter.

"You look at the table, and games against teams that are closer to you do take on more importance," Swansea manager Bradley said.

"But I think we can all agree that every game is massive for us right now.

"We understand that the start to the season we have had, and the league position we are in, make it extra important every time we step on to the field.

"If we can put a little bit of a run together at some point, then all of a sudden we would be out of the bottom three.

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"The disappointment of West Brom was that we were not able to build on our win against Sunderland, but now we have to try to start a good run again."

Victory over Middlesbrough would end a four-month wait for league success on the road, but Bradley expects a tough examination from a side back in the top flight after winning automatic promotion from the Championship last term.

"I have watched Middlesbrough a number of times," he added. "I think they are a good team and that Aitor Karanka has done a good job.

"I am very familiar with Alvaro Negredo, thanks to one of the friendly matches between the US and Spain, when he played very well.

"He is capable of being a real presence up front, and Middlesbrough have some good footballers in their team."

Key for Swansea, though, is how they bounce back from a poor second-half showing at The Hawthorns after Salomon Rondon's quickfire hat-trick sent them packing.

The defeat came just four days after Swansea appeared to give themselves a kick-start by seeing off Sunderland 3-0.

"In the first half we played some pretty good stuff, but we are talking about 10 or 15 minutes, really, at the start of the second half which cost us," Swansea midfielder Leon Britton told the club's official website.

"We are all disappointed, but we have to recover and go again.

"We have to be ready to go to Middlesbrough to try to end a week which started well on another high note. It's another chance to try to pick up some points.

"Maybe we didn't create a lot of chances, but we passed the ball well and controlled the game in the first half. You could see there was a bit of confidence there after Sunderland.

"We said at half-time 'let's not be sloppy, let's cut out any mistakes that could give them chances'. But we didn't deal with the crosses, and suddenly we were 3-0 down.

"We know West Brom will put the ball in the box. The centre-forward is a strong boy, he is good in the air and unfortunately we didn't deal with that.

"We came back at the end, but the damage was done."

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