Joel Piroe of Swansea City (R) celebrates his goal with Matt Grimes (L) during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Bristol City and Swansea City. Pic: Getty Images.

Russell Martin Reckons Swansea City Have A New Top Striker . . . Joel Piroe

By Paul Jones

Swansea City have turned down bids for two of their strikers, but Russell Martin is very happy with the form of his current front runners Joel Piroe and Liam Cullen.

The pair will spearhead the attack against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, hoping to add to the magnificent seven goals they have plundered between them in the last six games.

While Piroe and Cullen have developed a profitable partnership, Michael Obafemi and Morgan Whittaker look to be on their way out of the club.

The Swans have turned down an offer of £2.5m from Championship leaders Burnley for the unsettled Obafemi, while Whittaker has just been recalled from League One Plymouth and is up for sale.

Piroe has been the mainstay at Swansea since scoring 24 goals last season and has notched nine in all competitions to date this winter.

“It feels like Joel is slowly discovering his spark again,” said Martin.

“I thought he was brilliant in the Watford game and every week he works so hard for the team.

Swansea City head coach Russell Martin. Pic: Getty Images.

“Things didn’t really fall for him earlier in the season, but recently in the Coventry and Watford games he was very good and then he scored again at Bristol in the FA Cup last weekend.

“He’s had Liam Cullen with him, which I think has taken a bit of the burden from him.”

The Swans take on the Black Cats in their own backyard at the Stadium of Light, with the home side boasting the largest average attendance in the second tier by some distance.

The average crowd on Wearside has been around the 38,000 mark, and Tony Mowbray’s side have been on a good run of form that has put them on the brink of the play-off places.

The two sides played out an entertaining see-saw contest at the Swansea.com Stadium earlier in the season, and the return game promises to be a hard-fought contest.

And Martin wants his young side to back up the many positives from their last three performances by producing in a hostile environment.

“There is very little between us and them in terms of points so it should be a good game,” he said.

“I really like Sunderland as a team, they were great in the second half when we played them earlier in the season.

 

“They are a young, vibrant team who play with so much energy.

“They have a manager who is so experienced at this level and they pose a lot of threats.

“I am sure it will be a great atmosphere, I really enjoyed playing at the Stadium of Light as a player and it is a really good test for us.

“There will be a big crowd and it is up to us to be able to manage that, to be able to show what we are about and perform strongly in front of 40,000 people.

“It’s a challenge we are really looking forward to.”

 

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