Steve Cooper has refused to single out Mike van der Hoorn as more important than any other player at Swansea City as the countdown begins to the end of the Dutchman’s contract.
Van der Hoorn is one of a dozen players whose deal expires next summer and as yet no talks have begun over a new offer.
But the statistics would suggest the centre-back is the most reliable performer in the squad as this Sunday’s match at West Brom is likely to mark his 67th consecutive league appearance.
The 27-year-old former Ajax defender had a one-year extension triggered by the club at the end of last season, but could leave as a free agent at the close of the current campaign.
That ramps up the pressure on the Swans to either agree a new deal, sell him for a fee next month when the January transfer window opens, or risk losing him for nothing come May.
But Swans manager Cooper insists while chairman Trevor Birch and sporting director Leon Britton have to consider the options, van der Hoorn’s future is not an immediate concern.
Asked how important van der Hoorn was to his plans, Cooper said: “I think everybody’s important.
“Mike carries a bit of experience now. He plays in a position that plays a vital part in this league.
“I think any centre-back that’s required to play is an important part. We saw Mike and Joe (Rodon) have a really good relationship at the start of the season and Ben (Wilmot) has come in and hit the ground running.
“Mike is fit and healthy and it’s always a good thing players wanting to be in the team and playing. Playing 66 games is a good return.”
Van der Hoorn has started in all 19 Championship matches so far this season and the only other player who can match that figure is captain Matt Grimes.
But Grimes will still be under contract in the summer and even though van der Hoorn would appear to be a pressing issue for the club, Cooper says he’s happy for Birch and Britton to take their time.
“We’re not even halfway through the season,” he adds.
“We’ve got three games coming up in the next week so it’s not at the forefront of my mind.
“Leon and Trevor will look at that. There’s a lot of players’ contracts out in the summer but it’s not a discussion for now.”
Aldo Kalulu is in contention for feature for for the first time since August when Cooper’s side face West Brom.
The Frenchman – on loan from FC Basel – picked up an ankle injury in the win over Preston and has been sidelined for three months.
He recently stepped up his return with two outings for the under-23s, and Cooper says he is now in line to be available for the clash with the league leaders at The Hawthorns.
“Aldo is available. He obviously finished his rehab – which included a couple of games and getting some minutes under his belt – so that’s good,” said Cooper.
“He has been in training a few weeks, so he is contention for the weekend.
“He’s almost like a new signing. He made two or three appearances and he did not train for much before those.
“He is an established member of the group, we saw him every day doing his rehab, and hopefully he can have the impact we initially brought him in for.”