Leighton James column: Ashley Williams must start ASAP for Swansea City
ASHLEY Williams must start for Swansea City as soon as he has recovered from injury.
I have heard some people suggest that even if he is ready to return, Ashley should be wrapped in cotton wool and left out until the South Wales derby against Cardiff because having him fit for that match is the priority.
I don't agree.
Sadly for Swansea, Williams will again be missing tonight when they face Kuban Krasnodar.
But if he gets a couple of days' training under his belt before West Ham United, he should play.
In football the most important match is always the next one.
As soon as you start to look further ahead and lose sight of what lies immediately ahead, things go wrong.
So, while I understand the supporters' desire to have Swansea's skipper back for a big match against local rivals, Michael Laudrup will not think like that.
I know more than most what the derby means in these parts.
But Laudrup's focus has to be on tonight's match, then his attention will turn to the Hammers.
And besides, it would be good for Ash to get some game-time before being pitched into a game against Cardiff.
Even without him, I expect Swansea to beat Kuban, who have lost two from two in Group A so far.
One more win will put Laudrup's men on the verge of reaching the Europa League knockout stages.
It would give them nine points from three matches, a total that I'm sure will be enough to earn a spot in the top two, barring a freak set of other results.