Swansea City wait on fitness of Ki Sung-Yueng ahead of Villa Park visit
SWANSEA City were today waiting for news on the fitness of Ki Sung-Yueng ahead of Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa.
Ki is making the long trip back to Wales from Asia after playing 90 minutes — and opening the scoring with an own goal — for South Korea in their 2-2 World Cup qualifying draw in Uzbekistan on Tuesday night.
The likelihood is that Swansea’s £5.5 million signing from Celtic will again start on the bench as Michael Laudrup’s men take on a Villa side still chasing their first league victory under Paul Lambert.
Ki made his Swansea debut in the Capital One Cup win over Barnsley, but his sole Premier League appearance to date came as a substitute in the 2-2 draw with Sunderland almost a fortnight ago.
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The 23-year-old was impressive in his cameo appearance against the Black Cats, and Laudrup has welcomed the intense competition he brings in midfield.
Leon Britton, Jonathan de Guzman and Michu have started Swansea’s first three league games, and are again expected to get the nod against Villa.
With Ki, Kemy Agustien and Mark Gower in reserve, Swansea have a host of midfield options.
“It’s important to have that competition,” Laudrup said.
“I looked at the Swansea line-ups last year and the changes that were made.
“Over 38 games it was the same 14 or 15 players who played 90 per cent of the games. That’s difficult, even with no injuries.
“Unfortunately we have had some injuries already, but you always need competition.”
If Swansea are well-blessed in midfield, Laudrup’s defensive alternatives are minimal with Neil Taylor and Kyle Bartley on the long-term injured list and Chico Flores suspended for the next three games.
Ashley Williams will be back at Llandarcy today after a difficult week of international duty with Wales, with Swansea well aware that any more defensive problems will leave them painfully short.
As it is Swansea will have no senior central defender on the bench at Villa because club skipper Garry Monk is also unavailable.
Ideally, Laudrup wants a strong list of substitutes in every department to turn to if required.
“In all three league games so far people have come on and made a difference,” he added.
“They come on fresh and they have 10, 15 or 25 minutes.
“That means there is no person who is certain of a place in the first XI, and that is good for the level of the team.”
Swansea will also welcome Ben Davies, Jazz Richards and Michel Vorm back to training today, while Itay Shechter should also return having played 45 minutes for Israel in their 4-0 home defeat by Russia on Tuesday.