Pablo relishing friendly rivalry
24th October 2013
After a happy homecoming in Swansea City's Europa League opener in Valencia, Pablo Hernandez is hoping to get one over one another familiar face tonight.
With the Swans hosting Russian side Kuban Krasnodar in their third game in Group A at the Liberty (8.05pm), Spaniard Hernandez hopes to make his return from a hamstring injury which has sidelined him since the win over West Brom on September 1.
Should be selected in Michael Laudrup's squad, the winger could come up against a familiar face in his former Valencia team-mate Angel Dealbert, who joined Kuban last year.
And, after seeing the Swans beat his old club 3-0 at the Mestalla, the 28-year-old is relishing a reunion with Dealbert will reap similar rewards.
Kuban Krasnodar defender Angel Dealbet (pictured in yellow).
Hernandez used to share lifts to training with Dealbert as they both lived in Castellon - some 40 minutes outside of Valencia.
And he hopes to be giving his old pal the runaround again tonight.
"Me and Angel are very good friends," said Hernandez. "We know each other very well so it will be strange to play against each other.
"We have done it once when I played for Cadiz and he was at Castellon, but to do it in the Europa League would be special.
"He actually sent me a text as soon as the Group Stage draw came out. I couldn't believe that we drew his team - when he went to Russia I never thought I'd be playing against him so soon.
"I will probably go and see him today at the team hotel and have a quick chat. But, of course, when the game gets underway then it's my team versus his team."
Hernandez hopes to get his first taste of the Group Stages after missing the memorable victory in Valencia along with the 1-0 home win over St Gallen, of Switzerland.
He has undergone treatment on a hamstring injury which has kept him out of action since the Premier League win at West Brom, in which Hernandez scored the second.
But he's looking forward to a return to action at the Liberty tonight as the Swans target a third-successive three points in Group A.
"I am hoping to be available for selection," said Hernandez, who took part in Wednesday's training session.
"It is always frustrating when you're injured because you want to be out on the pitch helping your team-mates but that is not possible.
"But it would be great for me to be involved against Kuban. I'm looking forward to the game."
There are still tickets available for Swansea's home fixtures against Kuban Krasnodar and West Ham United.
More information can be found HERE