Swansea City's Kemy Agustien blow as midfield ace faces month out
SWANSEA City's preparations for "the tallest team in Europe" have been hit by the snow — and an injury to Kemy Agustien.
Midfielder Agustien has been ruled out for four weeks after damaging ankle ligaments in the midweek FA Cup defeat at Arsenal.
And boss Michael Laudrup revealed that no fewer than eight other players missed training yesterday ahead of this afternoon's clash with Stoke City because the bad weather meant they could not get to the training ground.
Still, Swansea should know what to expect against Tony Pulis's imposing Stoke side.
"They are huge," Laudrup admitted. "I think it's the tallest team in Europe — they have (Robert) Huth, (Ryan) Shawcross, (Peter) Crouch, (Jon) Walters and (Kenwyne) Jones — but that's not a criticism.
"Their size is something they use — set-pieces and second balls are very important for them. But I have as much respect for Stoke as I have for anyone else.
"They know exactly what they want. They don't say one thing and do another, and I can only have respect for them even if we want to do things a different way.
"People talk about their style, but we played Everton last week. They have physical players like Stoke — like (Marouane) Fellaini, (Victor) Anichebe, (Sylvain) Distin and (Phil) Jagielka — and they have quality players like (Leighton) Baines and (Steven) Pienaar.
"Stoke have (Charlie) Adam, who is a good player.
"Sometimes against the physical teams Swansea have struggled, but I was pleased with what I saw against Everton."
Laudrup has insisted he will not consider resting any of his star names today given that Swansea take on Chelsea in the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg next Wednesday.
"I don't know which game is more important," he said.
"For me Stoke is a big game because it is a league game at home that we want to win.
"Even if the players are tired afterwards, they will not feel tired on Wednesday because of the significance of that game."
Laudrup, meantime, has played down the suggestion that Swansea could push through a move for Real Betis midfielder Jose Canas because of Agustien's injury.
Swansea are allowed to hold talks with Canas now because his contract is up in the summer, but Laudrup would not say whether the club are working on a pre-contract agreement.
"You know that I know this player, but I cannot comment on that," he said.