Steve Cooper has urged his Swansea City forwards to be inspired by Andre Ayew and become undroppable.
The Swans manager – whose team host Charlton Athletic tonight (Thurs) – has said he still has striking options, despite the return of loanee Sam Surridge to Bournemouth and the remaining uncertainty over whether a loan deal for Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster can be agreed.
Without either Surridge or Brewster, Ayew will lead the attack for a match that could see the Swans return to the play-off spots if they win – but the manager wants more consistency from the likes of Borja Baston, Kristoffer Peterson, Wayne Routledge, Nathan Dyer and Aldo Kalulu.
“Andre has cemented his place because of his level of performance,” said Cooper.
“It has meant he is not even a discussion point when it comes to him staying in the team.
“I think, for the other attacking players, it’s about being the next person who we do not have to discuss whether they are in the team.
“That’s nothing against anyone, and that is nothing I have not told them. We train in a way that gives players an opportunity impress, and we do pick players from that.
“I know some of the lads will not be happy at the moment, but they are getting on with their work and will be ready and able when called upon.”
“As we have already seen, things can change. We have used a lot of players up there over the first half of this season.”
The Swans’ play-off push has suffered a blow after Bournemouth recalled striker Surridge from his loan spell. The 21-year-old joined on an initial season-long loan in the summer and caught the eye, scoring seven goals in 23 appearances.
But the England Under-21 international has returned to Bournemouth after the Premier League club triggered their January recall option following a string of injuries in Eddie Howe’s squad.
A Swansea statement on their official website read: “Swans boss Steve Cooper will look to replace Surridge at the earliest opportunity with the January transfer window opening today.
“Swansea City would like to thank Sam for his efforts and wish him well back on the south coast.”
Brewster is said to be keen on a move to Swansea but both he and Cooper are waiting to see if Liverpool will agree to the move.
Cooper and Brewster were very successful together in the England youth set-ups as the striker played a key part in their Under-17 World Cup-winning team.
The 19-year-old made his first senior appearances this season for the Reds in the Carabao Cup and may feature in their upcoming FA Cup tie with rivals Everton.
The Swans could again be without defender Mike van der Hoorn this evening. The Dutchman suffered a knee problem during the warm-up ahead of the Boxing Day defeat at Brentford and missed Sunday’s goalless draw against Barnsley.
Kyle Naughton and midfielder Jay Fulton both came into the side, with defender Connor Roberts and George Byers other options for Cooper should he want to freshen up the team. Forward Jordon Garrick (hamstring) and defender Joe Rodon (ankle) continue their recovery.
Charlton boss Lee Bowyer suffered another injury blow after forward Macauley Bonne picked up a hamstring problem which forced him off at half-time in Monday’s defeat at Derby.
Montserrat striker Lyle Taylor came on for the second half and could return to the starting XI, but is being monitored following his return from a lengthy injury lay-off.
On-loan striker Jonathan Leko has been ruled out for the rest of the season with anterior cruciate ligament damage and has returned to parent club West Brom for on-going treatment.
Jonny Williams, Sam Field, Tomer Hemed, Chuks Aneke, Jake Forster-Caskey, Josh Cullen, Beryam Kayal, George Lapslie, Lewis Page and Ben Amos are all still sidelined.