Why Ethan Laird could be in for some rough treatment against Cardiff City?
Manchester United loanee Ethan Laird could get his first taste of the South Wales derby at the weekend as Swansea City face their fierce rivals Cardiff City.
Laird has continued his recovery from an injury he sustained before the international break, during the two weeks in between Championship fixtures.
If the 20-year-old passes a fitness test ahead of Sunday’s midday clash then it is likely Russell Martin will start the full-back given his impressive and seamless adaptation to Championship football.
Frantic derby experience
Both sides are currently locked on 11 points and sit three points off the drop zone.
Cardiff come into the clash off the back of five straight defeats in which they’ve only managed one goal.
The Swans head into the derby after a 0-0 draw against Wayne Rooney’s Derby side.
Derby days are always highly-charged affairs and it will be important Laird keeps his cool and doesn’t let the occasion and atmosphere get the better of him.
Ethan Laird could be targeted by Cardiff
If Laird is fit to start the game, he will likely be deployed in his usual right-wing back role.
Playing in that position has allowed Laird to showcase his frightening pace, impressive crossing ability and dribbling skills.
The Manchester United academy graduate still sits in the Championship top ten for the average number of dribbles per game.
Laird averages 2.1 dribbles per match, but his quick feet and direct running have resulted in him getting fouled a lot this season due to him committing defenders and forcing them to dive in (WhoScored).
In fact only his teammate Ryan Manning (2.9) and Coventry’s Callum O’Hare (3.5) average getting fouled more times than Laird per game.
Laird will be coming up against a Cardiff side that averages the third highest amount of fouls per game (12.5) in the Championship.
So when you add the stats up, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Laird’s name top of the fouled charts come Sunday afternoon if he is deemed fit enough to play the full 90 minutes.
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