Swansea City’s automatic promotion hopes appear to have suffered another significant blow, with midfielder Conor Hourihane looking set for a spell on the sidelines after picking up a hamstring injury in the South Wales derby at the weekend.
The 30-year-old, who joined Swansea on loan from Aston Villa in the winter transfer window, was forced off in the first half of the 1-0 defeat against Cardiff City on Saturday with a hamstring problem.
Manager Steve Cooper has admitted that he doesn’t know the extent of the injury yet, whilst Hourihane was included in the Republic of Ireland squad before his injury, so you would imagine that he will likely be forced to withdraw.
The former Barnsley man has been impressive since joining the Swans on loan, having contributed five goals and one assist in just 13 Championship appearances, resulting in a solid 6.86 average rating from WhoScored.
This puts him third in Swansea’s top scorer list this season, with Cooper’s side having been extremely reliant on the goals of Andre Ayew in recent weeks, especially with Jamal Lowe enduring a woeful run of form in front of goal.
Therefore, it would be a huge blow if they were to lose Hourihane for an extended period as we approach the final stages of the Championship season, as other midfield regulars Jay Fulton, Matt Grimes and Yan Dhanda have just five league goals between them this season, so can’t really be considered goalscoring threats in this Swansea side.
After making his debut for the Swans, Cooper was full of praise for Hourihane, saying:
“I thought he (Hourihane) was excellent.
“He’s been so impressive from the day he’s come through the door, which wasn’t that long ago.”
Cooper clearly values the Irish international highly and he was undoubtedly hoping that the 30-year-old could help Swansea earn automatic promotion this season but given recent results and Hourihane potentially being set for a spell out injured, it seems unlikely that Cooper’s side will be able to catch Watford in second place, and may instead be forced to settle for a playoff spot.