Steve Cooper | We must embrace challenge and have no regrets

1st April
First team
Bournemouth away Steve Cooper

Steve Cooper wants Swansea City to embrace their Championship challenge and ensure they finish the season with no regrets.

After a short break from action due to the international schedule, the Swans travel to the Midlands on Good Friday to take on Birmingham City (8pm).

Cooper’s side sit six points adrift of second-placed, with a game in hand, going into their final nine matches of the campaign.

And the Swans boss believes it is an opportunity which his side needs to embrace as the season reaches a pivotal point.

Bournemouth away Steve Cooper

“We haven’t been the best in the league in terms of results when returning from international duty, even though we did well in November (a 1-0 win over Rotherham), so we’ll be looking to do the same on Friday,” said Cooper.

“It’s a vital end to the season. It feels like there are more on the games now than there were earlier on in the season.

“We have to embrace the nine games, the challenge, our position and make the most of our opportunity, and try not to have any regrets.”

Cooper has been without much of his international contingent for the vast majority of preparing for Friday’s clash with the Blues.

Andre Ayew returned from captaining Ghana with a slight knock, which has affected his inclusion in training, while Ryan Manning didn’t arrive back in Swansea until Wednesday afternoon following his Ireland call up.

Centre-back Marc Guehi will link up with the squad in Birmingham as he flies into the city after his involvement with England Under-21s, though Wales duo Connor Roberts and Ben Cabango were part of training on Wednesday.

Conor Hourihane and Steve Cooper

Conor Hourihane, meanwhile, is hoping to be fit after hobbling off early on in the previous outing against Cardiff prior to the international break with a nerve injury.

But Cooper believes the squad used the final international break of the season wisely as they prepare for their final nine games.

“The international break was an opportunity to get a few days off and also to get some work done on the training ground along with team meetings,” added the Swans boss.

“We’ve tried to use the time wisely.

“The lads are really positive and the atmosphere is good around the place.”