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Swansea V Aston Villa at Liberty Stadium : Match Preview

31 Dec 2012 16:31:28

Swansea V Aston Villa at Liberty Stadium : Match Preview

Swansea V Aston Villa - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Laudrup waiting on Michu fitness

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup will wait as long as possible for top scorer Michu as the Spaniard battles to be fit for the New Year's Day meeting with Aston Villa.

The 14-goal forward missed the 2-1 win at Fulham with the ankle injury he suffered at Reading, but Laudrup had hoped he may be ready to face Paul Lambert's beleaguered side.

Swansea made light of the absence of the converted striker at Craven Cottage, with Danny Graham deputising and opening the scoring.

But, given the impact Michu has made since his arrival from Rayo Vallecano, Laudrup is understandably keen to have him fit, and he will have a late fitness test to determine his availability.

Laudrup said: "I don't know if he will be fit.

"Obviously, he got an injury on his ankle and it was twice the size the other day.

"It's not a muscle injury but it's a question about pain and if he can't put his foot into the boot then he can't play. He can't play in bare feet, I don't think.

"The medical team say it's a possibility he could be fit for Tuesday but let's see."

Despite his goal at Fulham, his fourth of the season, Graham has been linked with a move away from the Liberty Stadium, although the former Watford forward has made it clear he wants to continue with the Swans, as long as Laudrup is happy for him to stay.

One of the reasons for Graham's desire to remain at the club is the manner in which Laudrup has taken Swansea forward after replacing Brendan Rodgers.

And Graham believes the improvements the Dane has made to the attacking side of the Welsh club's game make it the ideal place for a striker to be.

"I think we're a better side. I think we attack a lot more, get more goals, a lot more chances in the game," he said.

"The gaffer wants us to get forward and take chances and that's been beneficial to the team and a number of players so hopefully it can continue over the next half of the season.

"We've got a good squad now and anyone who comes in can do a job in the team.

"I'm sure that gives the gaffer a pleasant headache, to make seven changes and win a Premier League game away from home just shows the strength in depth we have now.

"Everyone's excited for January, the New Year and what 2013 will bring for us."

Lambert will continue to put the accent mainly on youth and has challenged his Aston Villa players to bounce back from the hurt of three successive heavy defeats.

Villa have conceded 15 goals in losing to Chelsea, Tottenham and Wigan and are only one point above the Barclays Premier League bottom three.

Lambert splashed out nearly #23 million last summer on rebuilding the squad after two successive battles against relegation.

He would welcome the return of some of the senior players sidelined through injury which includes skipper Ron Vlaar, strikers Gabriel Agbonlahor and Darren Bent and winger Charles N'Zogbia.

But Lambert still sees young and hungry players as the main route to go down and believes long term they will reap the benefits of their current experiences.

When asked if relying on youth means a lack of natural leaders, Lambert said: "That's the decision I've made. The football club has been in relegation battles for the last few years.

"This isn't just new on them because they've been in it for a few years.

"It's something we are trying to rectify in a different way and we will still go that way.

"A more experienced team than we have right now has flirted with relegation the last few years."


PA

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