The Birds are a shadow of the team that was pushing for the league title at this stage of the campaign last season.
Their coach Zeca Marques has not managed to continue the good work laid out by departed coach Gordon Igesund who left for the national team at the end of last season.
Under Igesund’s tutelage Swallows challenged for the league title until the last minutes of the last season but ultimately finished second.
Marques and his Swallows outfit, however, have the MTN8 in their trophy cabinet this season but their league form has been inconsistent.
The Birds are placed 10th on the Absa Premiership log with 25 points from 21 matches.
Midfielder David Mathebula is adamant that Swallows will not only claim a place in the top eight but a position in the top four is also viable according to him.
“We have about nine games remaining until the end of the season and that is 27 points to play for. If we do well in all those remaining games we could finish in the top four at the end of the season,” explained the former Kaizer Chiefs star.
“We want to attack Free State Stars and we know that it is not going to be easy. They are a running side and a physical one too and the only way to beat them is to keep the ball as long as we can.”
Stars themselves are not in good league touch; they have won just one of their last four league matches and were held to a 1-1 draw by SuperSport United in their last outing.
Ea Lla Koto are placed fourth on the Absa Premiership log with 32 points from 21 matches and will be looking to improve on their away record, as they have won just three of their 10 matches on the road.
Stars’ assistant coach Themba Sithole has promised his side’s supporters a Good Friday when they clash with the Birds who earlier this season beat them 1-0 win in the Free State.
“It’s been a while since we last beat Swallows, but that counts for nothing ahead of Friday’s clash,” said Sithole.
“Also that certainly does not give them guarantee that they will beat us again. For the first time in six months we have a full squad except for Daniel Cardoso, Tsietsi Mkhwanazi and Katlego Mashego who are still injured. With defender Sadate Ouro- Akoriko out on suspension the good news is Gege Soriola is back to fill the void.
“For us to achieve our targets we need to pick up maximum points on every match although it will not come easy but we will give it our best to reach our target.”
Other PSL fixtures
Ajax v Amazulu, CT Stadium at 8pm
Arrows v Wits, King Zwelithini Stadium at 3:30pm
Plat Stars v Sundowns, Royal Bafokeng at 3:30pm
SuperSport v Leopards, Lucas Moripe Stadium at 6pm
Pirates v Tukkies, FNB at 8:15pm
Chiefs v Celtic, Free State Stadium at 3:30pm