Monk ready for "massive" game

6th February 2014

Garry Monk says his players are ready for Saturday's "massive" South Wales derby at the Liberty Stadium.

The 34-year-old was installed as Head Coach this week after replacing Michael Laudrup with Swansea sitting just two points clear of the relegation zone.

Monk took his first training sessions on Wednesday ahead of the second Welsh derby of the season.

Cardiff won the reverse fixture at the Cardiff City Stadium back in November, but both clubs have undergone managerial change since then.

And as he prepares for his first game in the charge, Monk issued a defiant message of unity within the club.

"It's a massive game," he said. "But it has to be about the football, and I'm sure Cardiff will be thinking the same.

"It should be an unbelievable game. We lost the first derby this season and we have to turn a wrong into a right in our eyes.

"But these are the game you want to be involved in and it's all about now, the future and trying to push on.

"The players have been brilliant. I've talked to everyone, both collectively and individually; we're all on the same page and we move on."

Monk arrived at the Swans back in 2003 and has gone on to captain the side in all four divisions, including the Premier League.

Since then he has played under six different managers at both the Vetch Field and Liberty Stadium.

And, as he explained at his pre-match press conference, the events of this week were nothing new to him.

"We're all aware of what has happened this week. It has been a busy period," said Monk.

"I know the club and the players, nothing here is new to me. We've lost players and managers in the past and we've dealt with that.

"This is my club and I've always said I'll be ready for anything. Everyone knows my relationship with the club, but it isn't about me at all.

"I couldn't be prouder right now, but my main focus is on the players and Saturday's game."

Meanwhile, Monk will be assisted by first-team coach Alan Curtis, who himself is no stranger to change at Swansea City.

Curt has witnessed the many highs and lows, including nearly dropping out of the Football League back in 2003.

And Monk believes having people with an affinity to the club will only prove fruitful as the Swans look to steer themselves clear of relegation trouble this season.

"We've always been an open club, and we have to keep it that way," he said. "That's a philosophy that we've always had and if the scrutiny comes, we have to do what we have always done and that is to stick together.

"In a situation like this, you need people who care about the club and know what Swansea City stands for."