Connor Roberts

Connor Roberts | Shot at derby history a big incentive

11th January 2020
First team

Connor Roberts says the chance to make South Wales derby history only adds to Swansea City’s motivation ahead of Sunday’s short trip to face Cardiff City.

Steve Cooper’s side triumphed 1-0 at the Liberty Stadium when the sides met back in October; defender Ben Wilmot’s first senior goal on his full league debut sealing the bragging rights.

It means the Swans can seal a league double over the Bluebirds come Sunday lunchtime, a feat never before achieved in the 108-year history of the fixture.

The clubs have occupied the same division for 31 of those years, with 20 teams having previously had the opportunity to do the double without completing the job.

And Roberts, who will be hoping for his first taste of on-field derby action, views the challenge as one for Swansea to be excited about.

“We know it’s massive, when the fixtures come out this is the game everyone is looking for,” he said.

“We have played once and managed to get the victory, and hopefully we can have the same outcome.

“I didn’t get to play that day which was disappointing but, as a Swansea boy, I was as happy as anyone when Ben scored and when that final whistle went.

Cardiff huddle

“There is a big incentive there. Not just looking to win against Cardiff, but looking to do the double and making sure we are remembered as a side, whatever highs or lows the remainder of the season holds.

“We can always be the team who made history.

“I think we have been a bit of a mixed bag in terms of performances recently, but this is an all-or-nothing game.

“For the boys it is a case of forgetting about yesterday or tomorrow, it’s just about dealing with the today.

“It’s Swansea v Cardiff and we have to win.

“We have spoken about it, it’s a game that gets my emotion up and if we can do it, it would be unbelievable.”

While Roberts has yet to play in a derby, he is a man who knows exactly what this fixture means to supporters having been a Swans’ season-ticket holder prior to making his mark at his boyhood club.

And he is hoping to add some memories of his own to go with those recollections of famous derby days past.

“I have some fond memories, I have been to a few of these games over the years,” added Roberts.

“I remember Jordi Gomez’s free-kick at the Liberty, and the 3-0 win which was also at the Liberty.

“So, I remember those well, as well as watching Joe Allen’s goal at Ninian Park on TV.

“I hope we can create a little more Swansea history and make sure that people have reason to look back and remember the day.”

Roberts may be yet to play in a derby, but he is no stranger to Cardiff City Stadium having been a Wales regular for most of the last two years.

The full-back has enjoyed some wonderful nights there; from netting a spectacular goal in a victory over the Republic of Ireland to helping Ryan Giggs’ side seal qualification for Euro 2020 with a 2-0 win over Hungary in November.

The 24-year-old knows the atmosphere – and the degree of support he can expect to receive – will be very different.

Connor Roberts Wales

But it’s an environment that holds no fear for a player who, while still young, already has 84 Swans appearances and 16 international caps to his name.

“Obviously, my experiences have been playing for Wales with the Red Wall behind us singing and cheering us on,” said Roberts.

“Those experiences have been incredible, and it was such a special feeling when the final whistle went in the Hungary game.

“If we can get the win this weekend, I am sure that feeling will be there again.

“I know it will be a bit different, the majority of fans will probably not be supporting me on this occasion.

“There’ll be a bit of stick, but that’s part and parcel of it. You have to thrive on it.”