This is the one. When Cardiff got promoted last season both their own and rivals Swansea will have been licking their lips at he prospect of a South Wales derby going big time.
Sure they’ve met a lot, in a derby which is just over a century old, but this time it’s a global event – the Premier League Sunday clash will be broadcast worldwide and Swansea manager Michael Laudrup is well aware of the implications of the match.
All the players will know how important it is,” Laudrup has said in the run up to the Cardiff City stadium clash. “When you walk around in the city, people, even a couple of weeks before, start talking about the game.”
Swansea will field a team that went to Valencia in the Europa League and started more Spaniards than the home team while Cardiff now wear blue and are owned by a meddling Malaysian who has proceeded to make life in the top flight more difficult for Malky Mackay at every turn.
Vincent Tan has suggested tactical changes, substitutions, replaced the head of player recruitment with a 23 year old and bought players without Mackay’s consultation but that will all be put to one side on Sunday in a match which Mackay says will “have a little extra bite to it.”
“It’s the first time we’ve played in the top level and that’s special for everyone in south Wales. It’s only three points. It’s another Premier League team coming to the stadium, but there is a lot of importance attached to the game.”
If Cardiff can take three points they will go ahead of their bitter rivals but Mackay has preferred a deep defensive game so far this season that will invite Laudrup’s technical players to push up and look for space but as always with derbies there will be more to the game than tactical balance and Mackay has called for his players to keep their excitement in check.
“But you have got to be calm; you have got to be professional in making sure you are doing the best for your team in keeping 11 players on the pitch. I think it’s an atmosphere players embrace.
“I want that extra little heightened sense of the derby game inside them. That they have that little edge.”