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Kyle for one, Garry for one

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 14, 2013

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EVERBODY'S talking about whether Garry Monk or Kyle Bartley should start against Liverpool and Bradford if Chico Flores is ruled out of those games.

But why does the same man have to play in both?

It seems almost certain Flores will miss Sunday's trip to Anfield and the Capital One Cup final against Bradford a week after that. That will be a real choker for the Spaniard.

Earlier in the season, I had a few reservations about Flores following some shaky performances. He looked erratic in his initial games and was sent off for a wild challenge on Sunderland's Louis Saha back in September.

Since then, Flores has got to grips with the Premier League and has looked a composed, top-quality defender in his recent displays.

It will be an absolutely crushing blow if, as expected, he has to miss the final.

I know these days people think that money is all that motivates players — but I can't believe they don't also want to win things.

When you retire, you assess your career by looking at your achievements.

As Wembley draws nearer, Flores's ankle will get better, but the emotional pain will become much worse.

And I imagine he will be inconsolable on Sunday week. But in football, one man's misfortune tends to be another's gain, and Monk and Bartley are now on standby for Swansea's big day.

Everyone I speak to seems to assume that either one or the other will play in both Swansea's next two games.

I don't see it like that — and I am sure Michael Laudrup won't either.

Ever since he has been at Swansea, the Dane has opted to pick horses for courses, rotating his squad to some degree in almost every match.

And I don't see any reason why he won't do the same against Liverpool and Bradford because it will require different approaches to overcome those sides.

Liverpool will try to play through Swansea. They have clever players with deft flicks and subtle tricks.

Against the likes of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, I think Bartley, a man with quick feet who was schooled at Arsenal, should get the nod.

But in a battle with the Bantams, who will play more directly, trying to pound Swansea into submission with balls into the box, Monk might be the man for the job.

I think Garry is better in the air than Kyle, and he has played with Swansea from the bottom tier to the top so knows how to deal with lower-league opponents.

As much as I'm disappointed for Flores, it would be great to see Swansea's club captain run out under the arch. What a fitting reward for someone who symbolises Swansea's rise from the brink of oblivion to the edge of Europe.

But before that, Swansea must focus on their visit to Merseyside.

Brendan Rodgers is back under pressure following Monday's home defeat to West Brom, just weeks after people were saying the Reds were getting things together.

In my day, there were great players like Graeme Souness, Ian Rush, Mark Lawrenson and Alan Hansen at Anfield. And all you got when you visited was a cup of tea and a defeat.

Liverpool are years from getting back to anywhere near where they were — and their fans need to realise that.

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