Joe Rodon: Swansea and Wales boosted as defender returns

Joe Rodon made his Wales debut in last week's Euro 2020 qualifying win over Azerbaijan
Joe Rodon made his Wales debut in their Euro 2020 qualifying win over Azerbaijan

Wales defender Joe Rodon could return for Swansea City's Championship trip to Stoke City on Saturday.

Centre-back Rodon, 22, has been out for three months with an ankle injury.

Head coach Steve Cooper regards Rodon's return as a major boost as Swansea look to maintain their play-off push.

"He has really hit the ground running - we have been really pleased with him," Cooper said. "He had an outstanding first part of the season with us until he picked up the injury."

Rodon's return is a boost for the play-off hopefuls and Wales boss Ryan Giggs.

"He has slotted in (to training) as if he has never been away. We are very excited about getting him back in," Cooper added.

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Swansea have been forced to deploy 19-year-old Ben Cabango and Ben Wilmot, 20, in central defence in recent weeks with Mike van der Hoorn also out injured.

Cooper, meanwhile, has told a number of fringe players they can leave Swansea this month.

Winger Kristoffer Petersen joined Utrecht on loan this week and while second-choice goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt left for Genclerbirligi.

The likes of Barrie McKay, Tom Carroll and Declan John have had very little football this season, while striker Borja has struggled for game-time of late.

"There are players who we wouldn't stand in their way (if they wanted) to leave," Cooper said.

"Don't ask me for names, but that's a fact. We'll always be up front with players, even if it means difficult conversations."

Petersen was allowed to go despite being the only player Swansea have paid a fee for in the last three transfer windows.

The Sweden international arrived from Heracles last summer in a deal worth £500,000 rising to £1m, but has joined Utrecht on loan with the option of a permanent deal.

"It's a little bit not gone to plan, I get that, but not everything does," Cooper said.

"It's not been for a lack of trying from anybody and it's not dead because it is only a loan. What the future looks like for him and Swansea we're not sure, but we haven't closed the door on each other."

Cooper added that he does not expect to add to his three January loan signings - Rhian Brewster, Marc Guehi and Conor Gallagher - and does not anticipate losing anyone he wants to keep before the 31 January deadline.

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