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Swansea Focus - Laudrup confident to overcome injury woes

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By Sion Cleaver

Monday 17 September 2012

Swansea will return to Premier League action at Aston Villa on Saturday, with the Jacks looking to preserve their high league position with a victory over a Villa side who are yet to record a league win under new boss Paul Lambert.

The Swans are still unbeaten in all competitions this season after overcoming QPR and West Ham in convincing fashion, beating Barnsley in the League Cup and holding a strong Sunderland side to a hard fought draw.

Swansea’s last two clashes with Aston Villa saw the Welsh club earn a goalless draw and an away win. Their first encounter was made completely irrelevant after news of Wales manager Gary Speed’s tragic passing emerged just before kick-off. In the return fixture the Jacks picked up their first away win of the campaign at Villa Park, ending a nine-game streak that saw them fail to pick up any wins on the road.

Michael Laudrup will undoubtedly be aiming to boost his club’s overall performance with new signings Michu and Ki Sung-Yeung. A number of absences in the Welsh club’s squad is likely to play a factor in Saturday’s game, with Chico out after receiving a three-game suspension following a red card. Neil Taylor has been ruled out of returning to first-team action this season after suffering from a shattered ankle against Sunderland.

Defender Kyle Bartley has also been ruled out for three months with a thigh injury, and has yet to make a Premier League appearance for the Swans, with his only game coming in the club’s 3-1 League Cup win over Barnsley at the end of August.

Laudrup has since stated his confidence that his side can cope with their defensive injury problems against Villa on Saturday: "It has been a bad couple of weeks," he told Sky Sports. "We all remember what happened to Neil and after that we have had another injury, not as serious, but a very difficult and rare muscle injury for Kyle. Then of course we have Chico suspended for three matches. It's typical, to lose three defenders like this. But we have a squad and we have prepared them to play from the beginning, we did not think about serious injuries at that time but we are covered, we have players."

Swansea’s chairman Huw Jenkins confirmed earlier this week that the club have opened contract talks with goalkeeper Michel Vorm and defensive duo Ashley Williams and Neil Taylor. All talks are yet to be concluded, but each player is thought to be looking to extend their contract with the Liberty Stadium outfit.

Laudrup will undoubtedly be keeping an eye on Charles N'Zogbia for the opposition on Saturday, who has hit real form as of late, and was the only Villa player to cause the Swans problems in last season’s clashes. The defensive unit will have to overcome it's injury problems to deal with the threat.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Aston Villa v Swansea

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