Swansea City manager Steve Cooper has admitted he’s resigned to being without leading scorer Andre Ayew ahead of their clash with Reading this weekend – but he will be given time to prove his fitness.
The Ghanaian limped off during last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Wycombe Wanderers after just nine minutes, and in his absence the Swans suffered in an attacking sense for most of the contest, struggling to break down Gareth Ainsworth’s side until late on when they were 2-0 down.
Despite still being on a Premier League salary, Ayew has remained at the Liberty Stadium for the last two seasons in the Championship and Cooper has got him focused on his football and trying to get the club back to the top flight.
Ayew netted 15 Championship goals last season and he’s on 15 once again for the current campaign, and he could have well been the difference this weekend with Swansea just needing one point to confirm their play-off place.
As it stands though it doesn’t look like he will make it, with just one week’s rest before any kind of hamstring problem probably far too soon to come back from.
Even though it’s not as bad as first feared, Cooper believes that Ayew won’t make it for Sunday’s midday clash but he hasn’t fully ruled the number 10 out of the contest.
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“We’re doing everything we can, and he is doing everything he can to be fit,” said Cooper, per Wales Online.
“It’s likely that he’ll miss the weekend. If he does, he’ll certainly be ready for Derby.
“We feared that it would be a lot worse than what it actually is. This game has probably come too soon, but we’ll give him every chance.
“We’ve not given up on it yet. We won’t be taking any risks with him.”
With Swansea’s play-off place pretty much secure unless there’s a complete collapse in results in the last three games, then Sunday’s clash with Reading isn’t exactly a bad one for Ayew to miss.
He will get more time to rest up his injury and he doesn’t exactly need to be risked at this stage of the season, so Cooper is right to manage him carefully.
Ayew could be the difference in the play-offs and you wouldn’t blame Cooper if he decided to not play him until then either.