Swansea City: Andre Ayew and Conor Hourihane fitness boost for promotion chasers

Conor Hourihane
Conor Hourihane missed the international break due to the injury he suffered in the defeat to Cardiff City

Swansea boss Steve Cooper says injuries to Andre Ayew and Conor Hourihane are less serious than first thought, with the pair not yet ruled out of Friday's trip to play Birmingham City.

Hourihane, on-loan from Aston Villa, was taken off after only 18 minutes of Swansea's derby defeat to Cardiff City.

Ayew also limped out of Ghana's win over Sao Tome and Principe on Sunday.

"We'll see how it goes by the time Friday comes," Cooper told BBC Sport Wales. "They have a chance of playing."

Though neither forward Ayew and midfielder Hourihane has yet been able to train, Cooper admits he was worried both injuries would be more serious at what is a crucial time in the season.

The Swans are currently third in the Championship, six points off automatic promotion, but with a game in hand.

Not missing two key players would provide Cooper with a big boost.

"Andre's back and everyone knows he had a bit of a knock," he said.

"Conor Hourihane came off against Cardiff, so those two players have got a chance of playing but they're not training at the moment.

"When Conor walked off in the last game I think we all thought he pulled his hamstring, which could be a minimum of two or three weeks.

"But it was nerve damage as opposed to a strain, which is really positive. That's why he's not far off being back with us. That was positive. Andre's not too far off either."

Defender Marc Guehi is still on duty with England Under-21s and does not return to the UK until Friday, but he will link-up with Swansea for Friday's visit to St Andrews.

"Marc will join up with the team in Birmingham. He will join straight up with us," Cooper added.

However, on-loan forward Paul Arriola looks to have played his last game for the club.

The DC United forward has featured only three times for the Swans and is now sidelined with a thigh injury.

The 26-year old will not resume fitness before the end of the Championship campaign.

Cooper is keen to see the Swans look to push for automatic promotion after disappointing back-to-back defeats to Bournemouth and Cardiff.

"We've got to embrace the nine games [remaining in the regular season], embrace the challenge and get excited about it. We're in a really positive position," he said.

"It's all about grabbing the opportunity with both hands and making the most of it and trying not to have any regrets."

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