Doubt over Swansea City's Ashley Williams poses problems
SWANSEA City are again fretting over the fitness of Ashley Williams as they prepare for Saturday’s crunch clash with Reading.
Williams has been playing with an ankle injury since Swansea’s 2-0 defeat at Aston Villa almost three weeks ago.
And to make matters worse, the centre-back has now gone down with a bout of sickness which has seen him stay away from the training ground this week.
Williams has been forced to undergo painkilling injections to get through Swansea’s last two Premier League games.
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And Michael Laudrup admits that the Welsh international’s problems are becoming more of a concern.
“Ashley has been ill, which is not good on top of the ankle injury,” said the Swansea manager.
“He wants to be fit — he wants to play and he wants to be 100 per cent.
“But for the last couple of weeks or more he hasn’t trained at 100 per cent because of his ankle, and he is the big question mark for us ahead of Reading.”
Swansea will assess Williams in the lead-up to the weekend, with club skipper Garry Monk in line for a possible recall should he not make it.
Williams admitted after last weekend’s defeat at Stoke that he has been struggling for his best form this season, while fellow centre-back Chico Flores is still coming to terms with life in English football following his summer switch from Genoa.
Alan Tate started in the centre of defence against Villa and Everton, but Swansea’s long-standing vice-captain was left out of the 18 at the Britannia.
“We will have to see how Ashley is,” Laudrup added.
“We are already talking about the third week with this injury and now he is sick as well, so we will have to see if he is 100 per cent.
“It’s a discussion I have to have with him, with the doctor and with the physios.
“But what is most important is what Ashley says. If he feels 100 per cent in his mind that is a big thing, because we know he cannot be 100 per cent physically.”
The conundrum in central defence is the key issue for Laudrup ahead of Reading’s visit to SA1.
He also faces interesting selection calls in the centre of midfield and out wide.
Pablo Hernandez, Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge are battling for two places on the flanks, while Leon Britton, Ki Sung-Yueng, Jonathan de Guzman and Michu are scrapping over three midfield slots.
There is still no Kemy Agustien, however, as the Dutchman continues his recovery from a calf injury.
“He is getting better, but he will not be ready for the weekend,” Laudrup reported.
Swansea City’s official travel club pod will take bookings for the trips to Manchester City, Liverpool, Southampton and Newcastle today from 3-6pm.
The pod will also be open on Saturday from 12.30-2pm.
Details of the trips are available on www.swanstravelclub.co.uk