Alan Curtis plans to pitch Jonjo Shelvey into Swansea’s FA Cup tie at Oxford amid reports that the England midfielder could leave in January.
Playing Shelvey at the Kassam Stadium would cup-tie the 23-year-old if he were to move on in this month’s transfer window, but Swansea boss Curtis has again insisted he wants the former Charlton and Liverpool midfielder to stay in south Wales.
“It’s fair to say that Jonjo will play on Sunday and hopefully he will show everybody what he’s capable of,” said Curtis, who takes charge in a permanent capacity for the first time after being promoted from the caretaker role he had held since Garry Monk’s departure on December 9.
“From there we will look at it in terms of the league fixtures to come.”
Shelvey has only started once in Curtis’ five games in charge with Crystal Palace and Newcastle are reportedly keen to recruit the six-times capped international.
But Curtis said he told Shelvey as recently as Friday that he wants him to remain at the Liberty Stadium.
“I would want him to stay, yeah, absolutely,” Curtis said.
“I spoke to him (on Friday) and told him that. I feel that he’s got a huge part to play.
“He’s not in the team at the moment and there’s always going to be speculation about good players.
“Jonjo’s a current England international so there’s going to be speculation about him moving on.
“We feel that he’s a huge part of what will be a difficult run-in.”
Curtis will rest several regulars against League Two Oxford ahead of a crunch Barclays Premier League relegation battle against Sunderland on Wednesday night.
French left-back Franck Tabanou, who cost Swansea £3.5million last summer but who has figured in only two Capital One Cup ties since leaving St Etienne, will be among those given an opportunity.
Tabanou criticised former manager Monk earlier this season when he complained about a lack of game-time and hinted that he could return to France in January.
But Curtis said: “He could play a huge part and we hope he will do. He’s certainly got the ability.
“We have barely seen Franck play but he is training now (after injury) and he has got an unbelievable left foot.
“He is as good a left-footed player as I’ve seen. He smashes the ball for fun.
“I have been watching video clips of him. I actually sat him down the other day and said: ‘Franck, who is that man?’.
“He is going past people, beating two or three players and smashing it in from 30 yards, taking free-kicks, penalties. I haven’t seen that fella before.”
Even though Swansea will have a makeshift look about them at Oxford, Curtis promises they are treating the competition seriously.
“Whatever team we put out it will be a strong side,” he said.
“The Premier League has to be our main priority but a cup run is always nice and we want to get back on a run now, so it is important that we start that this weekend.”