Pablo Hernandez: I feel good and ready to start in South Wales derby
PABLO Hernandez is pushing for a start in Sunday's South Wales derby date with Cardiff after returning from the bench against West Ham.
The former Valencia winger had been missing with a troublesome thigh injury since scoring in the 2-0 win at West Brom on September 1.
Hernandez had hoped to return sooner only to suffer setbacks in his recovery process.
But the Spanish international was introduced as a substitute for the final 29 minutes of Sunday's 0-0 draw at the Liberty and made an eye-catching impression.
Hernandez produced a series of neat touches, while also offered an attacking threat.
And the £5.55 million signing hopes he has done enough to force his way into Michael Laudrup's starting XI for the weekend's game against Swansea's arch-rivals.
"I think I should be able to train normally all week with the team and hopefully I'll be ready to start, but it's not my decision," said Hernandez.
"This game is very important for the club and most important for the fans.
"It's a difficult game. Both teams want to win the match, Cardiff are at home but we want to win this for the fans.
"The occasion should be unbelievable."
Hernandez's availability has handed Swansea a boost ahead of their match at the Cardiff City Stadium, as did the return of captain Ashley Williams, who had not featured for five weeks because of an ankle complaint.
Hernadez's time at Swansea has been blighted by injury, meaning the 28-year-old has often struggled for the run of games that would provide an opportunity to show his best.
The wide man missed a month with a knee injury in December 2012 and later last term had his momentum disrupted by another thigh issue.
Capped by Spain in 2009, he has undoubted quality.
As well as scoring at West Brom early last month, Hernandez also netted against Wigan, Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers last season.
Now he is competing with fellow wingers Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge for a starting spot against Malky Mackay's men.
Cardiff drew 0-0 at Norwich last weekend, a day before Swansea played out a similar stalemate against West Ham.
The Bluebirds are fifth from bottom in the table, two points worse off than ninth-place Swansea.
Should Hernandez feature, it will be his first taste of the South Wales derby, which has been off the fixture list for two seasons.
Cardiff won the last clash between the sides as a Craig Bellamy goal decided matters at the Liberty in February 2011.
"I feel okay. I could have played for the last few weeks. This injury should have only lasted two or three weeks but when I started training I felt a problem in the same leg," added Hernandez.
"I had to restart the treatment so it ended up being a long time.
"It's fortunate for me that on Sunday I could play 30 or 35 minutes.
"I felt good on the pitch and I will train hard this week ready for the next game.
"Now I need more minutes to rebuild the confidence.
"The last game I played before the injury, against West Brom, I played well and I want to play the same in the next few games."