Cardiff City will be looking for revenge for the 1-0 loss in the Carling Cup 3rd round come tomorrow morning, but a depleted Swansea City outfit are still odds on favourites to win over the Bluebirds.
Spaniard Jordi Gomez’s 57th minute free kick was the difference between the two sides back in September and with local pride and bragging rights at stake both teams will be firmly out to win. With 18,000 plus supporters expected to pack into the Liberty Stadium tomorrow providing the backdrop to one on the most anticipated derby clashes in British football, Swans boss Roberto Martinez has urged Swans fans to raise their voices and play their part in proceedings as he told the SWEP, he said “We know we can count on our fans getting behind us.We have to make sure we continue our home form in this campaign, which is important. That is down to the atmosphere the fans have created. They play a big role.”
“We had big occasions against Leeds and Wolves — they are stand-out games in terms of atmosphere, but nothing like the Carling Cup third round.” he added, “That will stand out in fans’ minds forever. You could feel that old Vetch Field roar. That is a great thing to have. We are looking forward to a repeat of that.”
In a game both teams do not want to lose, Swans captain Garry Monk has epitomised the feeling in the Swansea camp ahead of the derby clash and has revelled his desire not give an inch away in his quest to do a double over Cardiff City on home soil, he said “I’m sure both sides could sense the intensity in the last match, but it was our backyard and there’s no way we want to lose on our own patch.We’ve only lost once at the Liberty in the league when we played Birmingham the other night, and we shouldn’t have lost that.”
“So, come Sunday we will have that same feeling. It’s a huge thing to have fans right behind us, even if it’s appealing for decisions because all those little things can go with you and make the difference. The league is a big priority for us too,the start of the season perhaps we weren’t too sure of our aims ourselves because we knew we were a young side and very inexperienced at this level.
Admitting that the squad fear no one in this league the former Southampton defender firmly believes the side are growing in confidence as he outlined this week, he said “We’ve pretty much played everyone there is now and we’ve really grown in confidence because there is no-one out there for us to fear in the league.”
Monk’s sentiment is certainly shared by his Cardiff City counterpart as Darren Purse has demanded that the club put right the 1-0 loss to the Swans in the 3rd round of the Carling Cup. Speaking before the clash tomorrow the former Birmingham man has warned his team mates not to take the threat posed by Swansea lightly as he told Real Radio, “Looking back at the first game, we all know we didn’t do ourselves any justice and we deserved to lose it because Swansea were the better side. In fact, they could have won by more.We didn’t perform like we can – but I don’t think that’s because we took the game or Swansea lightly.
“At the time we were playing with a lot of confidence and we thought we would win the game and that’s what came out in the press, but we didn’t take it lightly and it was just that, in the end, the best team on the night won it.I actually thought we played really well for the first 20 minutes, but then we let ourselves and the fans down and we know this time we have got to produce better.
“And that gives us a little extra motivation – it’s three points, but it’s also about local pride and bragging rights.We felt we let the fans down last time so we want to give a performance to put that right.”
Re-enforcing his captains view on the game, Joe Ledley has also vowed to do everything in his power to win against arch rivals Swansea City, and is aware that the squad must keep their cool and learn from the mistakes of the last encounter between the two sides as he told the South Wales Echo, “This encounter will be far different from the last time we met, I and the rest of the lads are confident of that.It is a case of keeping our heads and learning from our last encounter. One thing is for sure we will be a different proposition than last time, we all owe ourselves, the supporters, and the club a better game then in September.”
The Injury Lists:
Bluebirds boss Dave Jones has been given a welcome boost by the timely returns of Joe Ledley, Ross McCormack and Jay Bothroyd. Whilst Norwegian left back Tony Capaldi is out with a knee injury and influential midfielder Peter Whittingham is out of the clash with a ankle problem.
After undergoing a knee operation to repair damage to his cruciate ligaments on Thursday Dutch midfielder Ferrie Bodde has returned to The Netherlands to start his lengthy rehabilitation process under the watchful eye of medical staff at former club Ado Den Haag and the Dutch national side’s medical staff.
Defender Marcos Painter is firmly out of the clash with a cruciate knee injury which will keep him out of action until April next year. Roberto Martinez was rocked yesterday afternoon with the news that not only will he be without the creative flair of Jordi Gomez who will serve his one match ban but without the battling Leon Britton who lost his race to be declared fit for the derby clash with a re-occurrence of a back problem.
The seemingly never ending injury saga to Spaniard Andrea Orlandi continues as the midfielder has still not shaken off a thigh injury but Martinez has received a boost with the return of Thomas Butler after his hamstring injury. There will also be a fight on for a place between the sticks to face Cardiff as Dimitros Konstantopolos and Dorus De Vries both eye a starting spot.
Players to Watch:
Ashley Williams: £400,000 for the Welsh international looks even more like money well spent as the season progresses. Over the last year Williams has seen himself meteorically rise in both stature and league position. Last March the defender joined the promotion party at Swansea and has not looked back since. Earning international caps for Wales the former Stockport County man has coped with the likes of Lucas Podolski, Miroslav Klose and Ruud Van Nistelrooy admirably. With his strong defensive qualities and powerful frame the imposing defender could prove the difference tomorrow against a creative Cardiff City side.
Ross McCormack: Signed from SPL side Motherwell in the summer the young Scot has made an instant impact at Ninian Park with his good touch and excellent scoring record. With 12 goals in 18 games for the Bluebirds the striker will pose a very significant threat to Swansea City and his partnership with Michael Chopra up front to contend with the Swans could be in for a difficult time.
The Form Book:
Swansea City: WLWLD
Cardiff City : LLWDL
Man In The Middle/ Men On The Lines:
Referee: M. Atkinson
Assistant Officials: M. Mullarkey and P.Sharpe
Fourth Official:D. Whitestone
Planet Swansea Prediction: Swansea City 1-1 Cardiff City