Monk determined to thwart Stoke

Monk???s side are eighth in the Premier League table going into the weekend???s fixtures, a position that would represent their highest finish if they were to remain there.

Stoke are just one place behind the Swans ahead of their meeting in south Wales with the visitors knowing a victory by any scoreline would see them leapfrog Swansea in the standings.

But Monk is determined that will not happen and has described the fixture as ???our defining game towards the end of the season.”

Monk said: “There is a real possibility for us to finish eighth, the highest we have ever finished in the Premier League.

“For that reason alone this is such a vital game and the most important one of our season.

“We’ve been in the top 10 all year and it is important that we consolidate that position because that was one of our targets at the start of the season.

“But as it’s unfolded we’re in eighth place towards the end of the season and it’s in our own hands to get that place.

“It will be difficult because you have Everton, West Ham and Stoke coming and fighting behind us.

“But we’re in such a good position to get that best placing we’ve had since we’ve been in the Premier League – and that’s the drive and motivation for us.

“We’re in a position on Saturday to take three points away from a direct opponent and stretch that gap a little bit to make it more difficult for them.

“You have defining games at the start, middle and end of seasons and this is our defining game towards the end of the season.”