Preview | Swansea City v Cardiff City
Swansea City will look to create a piece of Welsh football history when they host Cardiff City on derby day at the Liberty Stadium this evening (5.30pm).
Having won the reverse fixture at Cardiff City Stadium in December, Steve Cooper’s side have the opportunity to become the first to complete a league double in the 109-year history of the south Wales derby.
Victory would also provide a welcome return to winning ways following the midweek defeat at Bournemouth but, for 90 minutes, the focus will only be on the task at hand in what promises to be a typically fiercely contested meeting between the old foes.
The Swans are unbeaten in the last four derbies, winning three of them, while head coach Cooper has also yet to sample defeat in the fixture having won two and drawn one of his three in charge.
The visitors have been in very good form under new boss Mick McCarthy, hauling themselves into the play-off picture, while the Swans have been firmly in the promotion hunt all season.
It sets up what promises to be a tense and intriguing battle in SA1.
Swansea City will give Marc Guehi every chance to prove his fitness after returning to light training following a groin injury.
Joel Latibeaudiere has been passed fit after picking up a minor knock at Bournemouth, but Paul Arriola will be absent again with a thigh strain.
Steven Benda is also back in training, but this weekend’s game comes too soon for him, while Liam Cullen, Jordan Morris and Tivonge Rushesha remain sidelined.
Steve Cooper: “We know it is important, as these derbies always are, and we have to use it as motivation to go and win.
“We have to focus on what it takes to win, but the main driver is the importance of trying to get the right result.
“We want to win the game and that is all we are focusing on. Whenever you play these games, nothing else comes into it other than the game itself.
“We are very away of how important the game is, we have been as a group since I have been here and that will continue to be the case.
“But we know it is not just about the football club, but the city and the community too.
“We represent them with pride and ambition, and we want to do that again on Saturday.”
Mick McCarthy: "I can’t do anything about historical results, we are playing this one and you can’t add any extra spice for me.
"If we win, we win. If we lose it I won’t feel any worse because it’s twice. I don’t want to lose it, you can’t add extra to it.
"Against Watford, I can’t tell you how sick I felt after that. I was in bits after that and I don’t want to be in bits after Swansea."
Remember the last time?
Ben Wilmot wrote his name into south Wales derby folklore as he marked his first league start for Swansea City by scoring the winner at a jubilant Liberty Stadium.
The on-loan centre-half – playing with Joe Rodon out injured – timed his run perfectly to glance home Wayne Routledge’s cross in the 24th minute.
In truth the margin of victory could – and perhaps should – have been far greater, as Swansea spurned a number of chances to put the game to bed.
But no-one seemed to mind too much when the final whistle went to spark the celebrations.
The result meant the Swans secured back-to-back league victories over their rivals for the first time in 23 years.
16 – Swansea City are undefeated in 16 of the last 20 league meetings between the two clubs, winning 10 of those games.
32 – This is the 32nd season in which Swansea and Cardiff have occupied the same division. No side has completed a home and away league double in a single campaign to date.
Tonight, we welcome our virtual mascots, Eli Fisher and Harry Richards.
Eli is aged eight, comes from Swansea and his favourite player is Matt Grimes. Eli plays football for Swansea Stormers.
Harry is aged eight, from Swansea and has three sisters – Amelia, Ivy and Alice. Harry plays football for Gower Galaxy and Swansea City. His favourite player is Jamal Lowe.