Fulham v Swansea City: Pablo Hernandez's return softens Michu blow
PABLO Hernandez makes a welcome return from injury at Fulham today — but Michu’s absence will leave Swansea City searching for a goalscorer at Craven Cottage.
Hernandez is back in the squad — along with fit-again Angel Rangel — having been sidelined since the end of November with a thigh problem.
Having the Spanish international wideman available is a huge boost for Swansea, for he was in sensational form before injury struck.
But the loss of Michu is a heavy blow given that he has netted almost half of Swansea’s goals in the top flight this season.
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Laudrup must choose between Danny Graham, Luke Moore and Itay Shechter to start up front — assuming he picks a genuine centre-forward — and none of them has had much joy in front of goal this season.
On average Michu has netted a league goal every 126 minutes, while Graham, Moore and Shechter have contributed just one goal in 1,182 minutes of playing time between them.
“Obviously we will miss Michu, but you can’t rely on a player playing all the games for the whole season,” Laudrup said.
“It is true that this is one of the first games Michu will miss.
“He’s only been out in one cup game against Barnsley.
“But we will still have a competitive team.
“We just need one goal. I won’t ask for four goals.
“We just need one more than Fulham.
“As well as the strikers we have Wayne (Routledge), Pablo and Nathan (Dyer).
“Then you add in Jonathan (de Guzman) — there are goals there.”
Michu misses out this afternoon with an ankle injury picked up at Reading on Boxing Day, but there is no ligament damage and he could be back in the fold when Swansea host Aston Villa on New Year’s Day. “He is getting better,” Laudrup reported.
“He could be ready for Villa and, if not, definitely the three games we have in six days starting with Arsenal next weekend.”
Swansea aim to pile on the misery for a Fulham side who have won only once in 11 games.
And though Martin Jol’s men have been struggling for form, Laudrup reckons they can turn on the style when in the mood.
“They have quality in the team,” he said. “They started the season very well and although they have only won one in 11, they have had some very important draws.
“I have followed them and I think it depends what kind of day they have.
“If they have a good day, they can really hurt you.
“They want to play football, but I think they will let us play as well, and we have to try to take advantage of that.”