Frank Lampard insists Swansea City will still be fully motivated to upset Derby County tonight, even though it’s only the Rams who can still see a route to the Premier League.
The Derby manager returns to the club where he played 11 games on loan in the 1995-96 season, on the cusp of instant success in his first job in management.
A victory for Derby at the Liberty Stadium would all but clinch their play-off place in the Championship top six against opposition whose own hopes of a return to the top flight disappeared last weekend with their 2-2 draw against Hull City.
But if Derby draw or lose then both Middlesbrough and Bristol City will go into the final round of matches at the weekend with the possibility of seizing the last available post-season slot.
The Swans have only pride to play for and the chance to try and finish seventh and Lampard admits it makes them unpredictable opponents.
“I think it is a real hard one to gauge what that will do to the nature of the game,” said Lampard.
“I certainly don’t think it will make them relaxed or not caring. They are professionals and the pressure coming off can sometimes benefit you in terms of freedom.
“They have a very good manager and they have made a lot of progress, particularly in the back end of the season.
“No manager or club is going to want to throw that away, so they are going to want to keep going to the end of the season. Whatever way you look at it, it is a really tough game for us.”
A draw – or even a defeat – would still leave the play-off outcome in Derby’s hands since they have a healthy goal difference advantage over Boro.
But it would make for a tense final game at home to West Brom on Sunday – opposition already assured of a play-off place – that Lampard would rather avoid.
“I want to go there and set up a team to try and win,” he added. “It is difficult to do anything but that in football, particularly the way we are at the moment.
“We have a nice run going, so we are going there to try and win the game.
“I know it’s tough, I know a point might be a decent point for us, but the first intention is to try and win.”
Despite their huge disappointment of throwing away a two-goal lead last week, the Swans are still on an unbeaten 10-match run at home and Potter is keen to maintain that.
“We want to play well and finish the season in a good way,” said Potter.
“We have got better and taken a step forward these last two or three months and we have to look at the bigger picture in terms of how we have developed and the circumstances around the club.
“But we want to win. Of course, I would be lying to same it is the same as if we had still been going for the play-offs because it is not.
“But it is still our last home game, so we want to finish with a win. We want six points from the next two matches if we can.
“So not too much changes, we respect that it is a big game for them and we respect the league.
“It’s a tough competition over 46 games so we have a professional duty to do our best because come the season you want to know everybody has done their best and whoever finishes in those top places has deserved it.”
Leroy Fer will miss Swansea’s final two games of the season and may not play for the club again as he is out of contract this summer. The injury-plagued Dutch midfielder suffered a knee strain during the Easter Monday win at Ipswich, his fourth setback of the season following a ruptured Achilles, groin and hamstring problems.
Martin Olsson (Achilles) is the only other absentee as Swansea conclude their home fixtures.
Derby’s Craig Bryson (ankle) and Ashley Cole (groin) remain out after missing the Ashton Gate win. Duane Holmes (thigh) is back in contention and Andy King has returned to training after two months out with an ankle problem, raising the possibility that the on-loan Leicester midfielder could be involved in the play-offs should Derby make it.