Blackburn v Swansea
FA Cup Fourth Round
Saturday 24 January
12:45 Live on BBC Wales
Rovers have won just one of their last six in the Championship and are in danger of drifting away from the battle for the play-off spots. Manager Gary Bowyer rested some of his stars in the 2-1 win at Charlton in the third round, leaving both Jordan Rhodes and Rudy Gestede on the bench and it will be interesting to see what he does here with his team selection.
Gestede, top-scorer this season with 12 goals, may not feature again here, though, as the want-away striker waits to see if Premier League Crystal Palace will up the £3.5 million bid, which has been rejected by Rovers.
Meanwhile, Rhodes has scored in just one of the last nine games and seems to have lost his way a little over the past couple of months. Adding to the interest surrounding this clash though, he's been linked in the press with a move to Swansea, which adds to the uncertainty as to whether he will start here.
Bowyer's previously high-standing among the Ewood Park faithful is beginning to wane with his side booed off by the travelling fans after last Saturday's draw at Wigan. His reluctance to introduce veteran playmaker David Dunn from the bench to try and spice up an insipid display seemed the main point of contention in the away end.
Rovers have won six of their 13 home games in the Championship this season but have won just one of their last four in front of their own fans, failing to score in either of the last two matches.
Like the rest of us, the Premier League outfit could only admire Chelsea last week as the league leaders put five past them at the Liberty Stadium in one of the most impressive all-round performances of the season so far. The good news for Gary Monk and his side is that, with due respect to Rovers, they won't face anything of remotely the same quality here.
Monk will have to use his squad with winger Wayne Routledge out for up to a month after limping off on Saturday and skipper Ashley Williams also likely to be missing for this clash with an injured shoulder.
He made nine changes for the visit to League Two Tranmere in the last round - bringing in six players aged 23 or under - as the Swans coasted to a 6-2 win with striker Bafetimbi Gomis netting twice in the second-half. The Frenchman has been in the news this week with suggestions he wants to follow Wilfried Bony out of South Wales - surprising in many ways given that he is surely now set for a prolonged run in the starting XI and the chance to show what he can really do.
Away from home, Swansea have won just twice in the Premier League but they saw off Championship side Rotherham in the Capital One Cup earlier in the season as well as brushing aside Tranmere three weeks ago, suggesting they know how to avoid these potential banana skins.
Whenever a Premier League side visits a top-half Championship outfit in a cup competition my first instinct is to weigh up the chances of an upset and I do like to side with that outcome if it can be justified. In this case, though I do think current form dictates that the top-flight side will have too much fire power and quality for their opponents, which makes the 2.427/5 available about an away win look a very nice price.
Having won the Carling Cup a couple of years ago, the visitors know that with a bit of luck they have a decent shout of going on a run deep into the FA Cup and we can expect Monk to really target this fixture and put out a considerably stronger side than he did in the third round. Meanwhile Blackburn have won just twice since late November with both of those victories coming over horribly out-of-form Charlton, who are without a win since the start of that month.
The injury to Williams might offer the home side a glimpse of hope and Swansea aren't too strong on the road in the Premier League but the fact is their opponents here are going through something of a sticky patch themselves and the conditions don't look ripe for them to claim an FA Cup scalp.
We can expect a reaction from Swansea to that hammering at the hands of Chelsea so let's benefit from it by backing the Welshman at what looks a very attractive price given all the evidence above.
Half Time/Full Time
Although I think the visitors extra class will tell over the 90 minutes, we're not going to see a repeat of their third-round romp here. It could be a tight first-half with the home side sure to put themselves about and try to knock Swansea out of their stride and stop them knocking the ball around.
Added to the early start, which I think often leads to teams taking longer than usual it could be a game of two halves here with the Swans not making their Premier League status count until after the interval. That makes backing Draw/Swansea in the Half Time/Full Time market worthy of highlighting as our second recommended bet at 6.411/2.
They only led 1-0 at half-time at Prenton Park in the third round and Tranmere were still in the game before the second-half blitz. I think we could see a similar scenario play out here with Bowyer's men going in level at the break but the Swans booking themselves a place in the fifth-round draw courtesy of their second-half performance.
Back Swansea to win at 2.427/5 *Best bet
Back Draw/Swansea in the Half Time/Full Time market at 6.411/2