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Swansea City waiting on fitness of four key players ahead of Everton visit

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: September 21, 2012

Danny Graham

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SWANSEA City are sweating on the fitness of four frontline players ahead of tomorrow's lunchtime clash with Everton at the Liberty.

Danny Graham, Ashley Williams and Jonathan de Guzman have all missed training this week with ankle injuries, while Leon Britton has been absent with a bout of flu.

And boss Michael Laudrup will assess the quartet on the training ground today before deciding whether they can play a part tomorrow.

Swansea say all four players have a chance of featuring, with Graham thought to be the biggest concern.

But there is bad news for midfielder Kemy Agustien, who is likely to miss at least two games with a calf injury suffered in training this week.

Graham picked up his problem on Wednesday, while Williams and de Guzman have been undergoing treatment since last weekend's defeat at Aston Villa.

"We will have to look at all four of them in training before we can decide," Laudrup said.

"We cannot do anything about these injuries. Football is a contact sport and two of them are from the last game.

"The others are from training, but you have to train like you play.

"Then we have Leon feeling sick. We can't do anything about that.

"He has not been in for a couple of days, but all the players will be in (today) and we hope they can all play tomorrow, apart from Kemy who is definitely out. Let's see if they are in or out. If they are not 100 per cent, we have other players who can come in and play."

Williams would be the biggest loss given that Swansea are already without fellow central defenders Chico Flores, Garry Monk and Kyle Bartley as well as left-back Neil Taylor.

The Wales star hobbled through the second half at Villa Park, and past evidence suggests he will declare himself fit.

"Hopefully he will be in, because it's important for us to have our captain," Laudrup added.

Swansea must keep fingers crossed on Williams, because alternative defensive options are close to non-existent.

At least Swansea have some strength in midfield, with the likes of Ki Sung-Yueng and Mark Gower on standby for starts if required.

Should Graham miss out, Luke Moore would be the favourite to spearhead Swansea, although Laudrup could turn to loan signing Itay Shechter.

Everton are not the ideal opponents for a side struggling for bodies at the back given their physical prowess in attack.

David Moyes's men have made a strong start to the new season, but Laudrup is convinced Swansea can combat the men from Merseyside.

"Everton will be a great challenge," Laudrup added.

"Their manager has been at the club for ten years, and for me that is very strange because that can only happen over here.

"Where I've come from in the south of Europe, managers are at clubs for two or three years or five maximum. But if you look at Everton in the last few years, they have done some very good things.

"I say with respect that I don't think they are one of the top clubs, but they have a settled manager and that philosophy has paid off."

Everton have been hit by news that striker Nikica Jelavic is likely to miss out this weekend after picking up an injury in last Monday's draw with Newcastle.

Gareth Vincent

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  • brochadav  |  September 21 2012, 7:22PM

    Oh Joe, really? players pick up injuries in training all the time. They aren't necessarily contact injuries, slips and falls, muscle pulls, it can and does happen. On tomorrow's game, with our defence looking short maybe we should consider playing 3-2-3-2 and play Sung-Yueng as another holding midfielder alongside Leon (or AN Other) with Michu, Routs and Dyer in their normal roles with Shecter and Graham (or Moore) up top.

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  • PaulStuart  |  September 21 2012, 4:41PM

    On a more serious point we are short at the back with a few injuries and Chico's ban. Everton will realise this and tomorrow will be interesting to say the least. Stacked with good midfielders won't be the answer. Joe, Can you enlighten us any further on your comment about ML? If not I suggest you keep such silly thoughts to yourself.

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  • ArseyLa  |  September 21 2012, 12:14PM

    Whether his comments are harmless or not I guess is down to the individuals reading of what he has said. For me he is talking about an aspect of football that does not currently exist in his country (not openly at least!?), but is obviously the acepted norm in some continental leagues where he based his entire playing career. At worst it opens up a debate and as with all debates there will be for's and against's, I just think it is a bit rich to condemn him and question is morals.

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  • hacker_jack  |  September 21 2012, 12:09PM

    To be fair, the "pay to win" idea happens all the time legally in Italy and Spain. It's no different at all from players having a win-bonus in their contracts or a team receiving prize money. The counter-view is that players should be giving 100% either way, however there are times where teams will play for a draw if it suits them or play with less than 100% commitment to challenges is they are 1 yellow from a ban or have a big game coming up. For example, if we were in the FA cup final and safe in 12th place with no chance of going up or down we might be inclined to rest players for the last league match. Were one team to offer us £2m if we won the match then those players might not be rested. Some would argue that resting players in the first place is wrong, yet it seems to be accepted by everyone.

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  • blomber  |  September 21 2012, 11:38AM

    Thank you ****yLA for clearing that up......so it`s a harmless comment after al!

  • ArseyLa  |  September 21 2012, 11:32AM

    There is an article on BBC that is taken from an interview with a European journalist. In it he catergorically states that anyone who is guilty of match fixing should be banned for life. By his definition match fixing is when individuals are paid to loose a game. What he has advocated is a performance related incentive for teams to win at the business end of the season in key games when one team may have nothing to play for and the other is involved in either titles or relegation. People are taking the moral high ground because ML has advocated that the incentive may be paid/offered by a rival team who will have a vested interest in the outcome of a game whether it be for a title or relegation. The views probaby reflect his own experiences in the 80's while playing in Spain/Italy where we know there is well reported incidence of corruption in football. Not sure why he should be slated for having a view.

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  • blomber  |  September 21 2012, 10:15AM

    What do you mean....."pay the Swans to win a game?"..........are we talking "match-fixing" here?

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  • GorsseinonJoe  |  September 21 2012, 9:15AM

    Train like you play? Two players put on the injury list due to training incidents, I am getting a bit concerned with Laudrup especially following his statement that it's ok for other teams to pay the Swans to win a game?

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