Russell Martin gives four key squad updates ahead of Plymouth and Preston tests as Swansea City boss opens up on loan talks

Russell Martin has confirmed Kyle Naughton and Ryan Bennett will be available for Swansea City’s Carabao Cup clash with Plymouth Argyle following a period in isolation after testing positive for coronavirus.

The defensive duo missed the league fixtures with Sheffield United, Stoke City and Bristol City with what were initially described as minor knocks.

However, following the Swans’ 1-0 triumph over Bristol City on Friday night, Martin revealed the pair were poised to return to action when his side welcome the Pilgrims to south Wales on Tuesday night.

It comes after Ben Cabango and Flynn Downes both returned positive Covid-19 tests – with the pair set to be unavailable until after the international break.

“It’s not been easy since we’ve come in. We’ve not been dealt the easiest hand,” said the head coach.

“Losing Kyle Naughton and Ryan Bennett to Covid so quickly after coming in, two massive players, was tough. Now these guys [Downes and Cabango] as well.

“The guys who’ve come in, Ryan Manning and Brandon Cooper, who haven’t been training for very long, have done incredibly well so I’m really proud of them and grateful for what they’ve given us.

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“So there’s real competition for the guys when they came back. Flynn and Ben would have started tonight [Friday] so it was a bit of a blow.

“But I thought Jay [Fulton] and Grimesy [Matt Grimes] were brilliant out of possession and Joel Latibeaudiere was excellent as well, while Ethan Laird showed what he could do in the second half.

“So there’s loads of exciting stuff and I don’t want to be down on it but we need to improve and the players know that and they will.

“I’m really proud of so much of what they’ve done already since we’ve been here because it takes a lot of courage to do what we’re asking them to do, and tonight they showed courage in a different way.”

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Meanwhile, Martin remains determined to further add to his squad before the August 31 transfer deadline.

But the boss is also anticipating that several youngsters could be allowed to leave the club on loan following Jordon Garrick’s switch to Plymouth.

“We can stockpile and keep the young guys in, but we’ve sat down and discussed every player really, what they need, the young players especially,” he added.

“Is it more beneficial for them to be with us and be in and around the squad and maybe have an opportunity here and there or is it better to go and play every single week?

“Jordon’s had an injury which he’s recovered from.

“He has a good chance to go and play in a team who use a very similar system to us.

“He’s going out with us keeping a very firm eye on things, he’s not going out because we don’t need him here at the moment, he’s going out so we can have a real look at him.

“I think for young players especially, it’s better just to play football and experience it, have a run of games and come back to us in January, or we’ll assess things in January.

“Hopefully it’s a really positive one for him.”


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