Nottinghamshire spinner Graeme Swann is battling to be fit to face South Africa when the Investec Test Series begins at The Oval in a week's time.

Swann has had elbow problems before and went under the knife to remove some floating bone in 2009. He has learned to manage the injury through adequate rest but England Team Director Andy Flower will be keen to have him available for selection when the world's best Test teams collide.

"Swann and Bresnan have ongoing elbow problems," confirmed Flower.

"Our medical staff believe they will be fit and available for selection for the first Test but it's a strenuous exercise being a bowler playing international cricket.

"They play all three forms of the game so that's why Swann missed a big part of the one-day series and why we rested Bresnan for the last match at Old Trafford."

Nottinghamshire teammate Samit Patel would be a leading contender to fulfil Swann's role in the team should further restr be required with Monty Panesarand James Tredwell also up for consideration.

"There will be opportunities for youngsters when we rest Swann, and Swann can't go on forever," said Flower.

"There'll be some opportunities for others in the international game."