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Sport The significant call Steve Cooper must now consider for QPR as Swansea City sweat on Andre Ayew fitness

12:35  18 april  2021
12:35  18 april  2021 Source:   walesonline.co.uk

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Swansea City look set to be without top scorer Andre Ayew for the clash with Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday night.

The Ghanaian will be assessed after suffering a hamstring early on in his side's 2-2 draw with Wycombe Wanderers at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

Steve Cooper will be eager not to risk the frontman against the Rs given that Swansea still have to play Reading, Derby County and Watford after hosting QPR while they could yet have their season extended should they be involved in the play-offs.

When asked if Ayew would miss the visit of QPR, Cooper commented: "It would seem that way but we don't know yet. You can't walk off after eight minutes and play three days later unless something extraordinary has happened. But we don't want to speculate."

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Ayew's expected absence will once again leave a gaping hole in Swansea's attack. And Cooper has a huge decision to make when it comes to replacing his side's top scorer.

Liam Cullen made his long-awaited return to action in stunning fashion by netting an equaliser against Wycombe - although the club's medical staff are treating the academy product with kid gloves following a spell of almost three months on the sidelines.

"Big credit to him. Obviously he scored, but he's only trained twice. He's come back early because of the commitment he's shown in his rehab and the work the medical team have done with him," said Cooper on the Wales Under-21 international.


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"We haven't put him at risk in any way in getting him back out too soon, but I guess we've accelerated getting him back on the pitch.

"We just thought he would be at the stage now where he would play 20 or 30 minutes for the Under-23s, so why not do it for us when we're short on players in that position. For today it proved to be some good work."

Morgan Whittaker also brought some fresh impetus to Swansea's attack against the Chairboys as Cooper's men came from two goals behind to clinch what could yet prove to be a vital point.

Speaking after the draw, Cooper confirmed Wayne Routledge - who replaced Ayew after nine minutes - was not fit enough to start having played from the outset in the wins over Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday.

The experienced attacker played 67 minutes against Wycombe before being withdrawn, and Cooper admitted the medics had some concerns over Routledge's fitness - particularly given that he only recently returned from injury.

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Connor Roberts got into some dangerous positions against Wycombe in his unusual winger role, and it remains to be seen whether or not the Welshman will be deployed high up the pitch once again for the QPR game.

After two impressive performances, Jay Fulton and Conor Hourihane both struggled to replicate the heights they showed against Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday when it came to the visit of Wycombe. It could well be that Korey Smith returns in midfield to freshen things up while Yan Dhanda is also an option.

But it's in attack where Cooper now has something of a headache as he looks set to be without Ayew in a game for only the second time this season.

Whatever he decides, there will no doubt have to be a bold call made, and one that could come with significant risk.

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Swansea secure play-off spot despite late sucker punch .
Reading needed a win at the Madejski to keep their play-off dream alive and despite taking the lead, Swansea turned the game on its head and left the Royals with too little time to get the three points.It's all done and dusted with two rounds of the season left. Brentford, Bournemouth, Barnsley and Swansea will slug it out to join Norwich and Watford in next season's Premier League.

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