Magic Michu to inspire Swans
There's little doubt that Swansea would have opted for Premier League survival over Capital One Cup glory if given the choice at the start of the season.
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But with a top-half finish looking more likely than a relegation battle following an impressive start to the campaign, the south Wales club can now afford to target a trip to Wembley - and indeed silverware - much more seriously than they may ever have imagined.
Swansea won't view a last-eight clash against Championship high-flyers Middlesbrough as a banker by any means of course but the draw could certainly have been tougher and manager Michael Laudrup is clearly focused on helping them reaching a first major final.
The Dane, who led Getafe to the Copa del Rey final in 2008, said: "When you are a smaller club when do you ever get the chance to play for a trophy?
"Being in mid-table or avoiding relegation is great, but it is a special feeling to win a trophy and we can do it with a cup."
Swansea haven't previously reached the League Cup quarter-finals in their 100-year history but should still head into this clash at the Liberty Stadium in confident mood of going even further despite their thrilling 4-3 home defeat at home to Norwich on Saturday.
Prior to that, the eighth-placed Swans had gone six Premier League games unbeaten to get right back on track following a tricky five-match winless spell while Michu has been key to their success thanks to his recent goalscoring exploits - including a late brace to sink Arsenal earlier this month.
Another two goals against the Canaries took the Spaniard's tally to 13 in all competitions so if he's given a cup run-out on Wednesday night then he'll definitely give them an additional edge in their quest to see off Boro.
Even though it's even harder than usual to predict how a manager will select his side for cup competitions as we enter a busy festive period, Michu did start in the previous two rounds at Crawley and Liverpool so a bet on him in the goalscorer markets will interest several punters.
He's a best of 23/20 to net anytime with sportingbet but we're going to throw a Swansea victory into the equation as well and take Betfred's 9/4 about Michu to score in a home win.
Given the number of top-flight sides who have been knocked out so far, we're not dismissing Boro's chances with little thought.
However, Tony Mowbray himself admits promotion is the major prize for the club this season and the forthcoming run of league games will be crucial to their hopes.
He said: "Whilst it's nice to have a run in a cup competition, get the plaudits and potentially get to a semi-final, televised games and heighten the profile of your club, the bottom line come May is, if you don't finish in the top two or the top six, giving yourselves a chance, it's a wasted season.
"For the club, the ambition we have got is to try to get back there as quickly as we can."
This is not to say he'll pick a weakened team - he won't - but I just feel the Swans will have the greater desire to progress and in conjunction with other factors such as quality and home advantage, they should do enough.