Swansea V Stoke at Liberty Stadium : Match Preview

19 January 2013 08:25
Swansea V Stoke - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Laudrup confirms Graham bids

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup confirmed the club has received offers for striker Danny Graham, but was coy over his pursuit of Stoke's Kenwyne Jones.

Graham has been consistently linked with a move away from the Liberty Stadium in January.

The 27-year-old has scored four goals in his last five appearances, but the outstanding form of Michu has limited his first-team opportunities and left the former Watford man frustrated.

While Laudrup would not reveal the name of the clubs who have made offers, Press Association Sport understands Sunderland and Norwich have made bids of over #4million for Graham.

The Dane said: "Everywhere it is saying there have been some official bids, it is true, but apart from that I don't really have any comment as in the next four days we have two very important games.

"It is a very important home game against Stoke in the league as after that we have two difficult away games against Sunderland and West Ham, and we all know about the game on Wednesday (against Chelsea in the Capital One Cup), so that is much more important.

"So my only comment is we have had some bids and I don't want to go into detail about what clubs they are."

With Graham seemingly set to leave, Swansea are interested in bringing in Jones from the Potters, and the Trinidadian is likely to start against the Swans at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

Reports suggest Swansea are set to return with an improved offer after having an initial #3million bid rejected. But Laudrup would not be drawn on the topic.

He said: "He (Jones) will probably play, maybe if he can play with us it can be 12 v 10 but I don't think that will happen.

"Let's just say it is not the proper time to talk about a player when he is playing against us in around 24 hours time.

"Let's hope he does not have too good a day as it is better for us."

Laudrup will be without midfielder Kemy Agustien against the Potters after the Dutchman damaged ankle ligaments in the midweek FA Cup third-round replay defeat at Arsenal.

The problem is set to keep the 26-year-old out of Swansea's next five games, including the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final against Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Stoke manager Tony Pulis feels Potters forward Jon Walters is an inspiration to players lower down the football ladder.

After failing to establish himself at Blackburn or Bolton early in his career, Walters moved on to Hull, Wrexham and then Chester, where a fruitful spell earned him a transfer to Ipswich in 2007.

His good form continued at Portman Road and in 2010 he was recruited by Stoke for an initial fee of #2.75million.

He has since developed into a firm fans' favourite at the Britannia Stadium - as well as breaking into the Republic of Ireland team - and last weekend's home clash with Chelsea was the 73rd consecutive Barclays Premier League match the 29-year-old has started.

It was not a happy occasion, with Stoke hammered 4-0 and Walters incredibly scoring two own goals and missing a penalty.

However, he swiftly recovered and scored twice at the right end in Tuesday's 4-1 FA Cup third-round replay victory against Crystal Palace, prompting Pulis to speak about the player's "British bulldog spirit."

"He has been a great signing for this football club," Pulis added today.

"His attitude and application is absolutely first class and I think he is an inspiration to players at the lower level who are young enough but have not quite made it to the top, in respect of keeping going and trying.

"He got released as a young player, dropped down the divisions, ended up at Chester at one stage, and from that point onwards his career turned completely on its head.

"He has climbed and now he has played 73 consecutive games for us in the Premier League.

"He has been a dream. Everything about the kid is first class.

"The mixture between what we want as a football club and what Jon gives us is absolutely perfect."

Stoke defender Andy Wilkinson is a doubt for the trip after coming off in the FA Cup replay against Palace with a back problem.

Fellow full-back Ryan Shotton (hamstring) could return after being ruled out of the Palace game and goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and midfielder Charlie Adam are set to having been rested on Tuesday.

Defender Marc Wilson, out since breaking his leg in October, is in training again but not yet ready for selection, nor is midfielder Rory Delap (calf), and although winger Jermaine Pennant is back from his loan spell at Wolves, he will also not feature at the weekend.

Source: PA

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