Swans’ Sanches bat­tling to be fit

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

SWANSEA City could face Town with­out Por­tu­gal in­ter­na­tional Re­nato Sanches.

The 20-year-old mid­fielder, who is on loan from Bay­ern Mu­nich, in­jured a thigh as the Por­tuguese beat An­dorra and Switzer­land to book their place at the 2018 World Cup.

“We’re in pretty good shape, but one is­sue is Re­nato Sanches who is a ma­jor doubt for the game,” said Swans boss Paul Cle­ment.

Swansea lost 1-0 at West Ham United be­fore the in­ter­na­tional break to drop into the bot­tom three, but Cle­ment said that it is too soon for peo­ple to be dis­miss­ing Swansea’s sur­vival chances.

“It’s much too early. Last sea­son when I ar­rived they were writ­ing us off,” he said.

“You would see me­dia and pun­dits say­ing Swansea were down, it makes no dif­fer­ence to us.

“A cou­ple of wins changes that, so I don’t take much no­tice of it.

“I think this is a team that will get bet­ter and bet­ter as the sea­son goes on.

“I ex­pect them to show an im­prove­ment and I’m con­fi­dent we will be bet­ter in the sec­ond half of the sea­son than the first.”

Swans mid­fielder Nathan Dyer is avail­able after eight months out with a rup­tured Achilles, while striker Wilfried Bony is rated as 50-50 and will un­dergo a late fit­ness test.

“It’s been a long ab­sence for Dyer,” Cle­ment said. “He’s been very pro­fes­sional through a dif­fi­cult in­jury. It’s been a long road for him.

He’s played a few Un­der 23 games, he’s ready for selec­tion but it would be dif­fi­cult for him to play 90 min­utes at this level.”

Cle­ment was ex­pect­ing a test from a Town team look­ing to get back to win­ning ways.

“You can have that ex­cite­ment and play with­out fear, and they picked up two wins and a draw in their first three games,” said Cle­ment.

“But they’ve plateaued a bit and I’m sure they’ll come to us want­ing to get a good re­sult.

“We feel op­ti­mistic our form is go­ing to change. We’ve worked on some things since the West Ham loss and the play­ers have re­sponded.” ■■Gor­don Stra­chan’s reign as Scot­land head coach has ended.

The Scot­tish Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion an­nounced that Stra­chan would not con­tinue in the role after Scot­land’s World Cup hopes ended with a 2-2 draw in Slove­nia on Sun­day.

A state­ment read: “The board of the Scot­tish FA and Gor­don Stra­chan have agreed that the Scot­land na­tional team will be led by a new head coach in prepa­ra­tion for the UEFA Euro 2020 qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign. Gor­don’s ten­ure will end with im­me­di­ate ef­fect along with that of his as­sis­tant coach, Mark McGhee.”

Stra­chan’s fu­ture came un­der se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion after his side took just four points from their first four matches in Group F, but they fin­ished the cam­paign un­beaten in six matches, fin­ish­ing third be­hind Slo­vakia on goal dif­fer­ence.

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