Date:Monday September 22 2008
This week will see Cardiff City and Swansea City go head to head for a place in the forth round of the Carling Cup where a potentially lucrative tie against the likes of Chelsea or Arsenal beckons. It is that reward that will act as a huge incentive to both sides to go on a win over their bitter .In a game where emotions will be running high on Tuesday evening both sides will not only be looking to secure a fourth round berth but local bragging rights and provide a potential psychological edge when the two sides meet in league action on the 30th November.
However the prospect of the game serving as a showcase for Welsh football is something that must not be discounted. Due to be broadcast not only in the United Kingdom on Sky Sports but in the United States on Setanta and in Sweden and in the Czech Republic, the clash will be the chance to bring not only to bring more exposure to Welsh football but earn a new set of supporters to the top sides in this country.
To have a global audience watching the game it will be the perfect opportunity to send a positive message about club football in Wales and what better way in pitting both of the top Welsh sides against each other ; In spite of this there are still question marks about the game.
Whilst there will be fireworks on the pitch there is a real tangible sense that club officials and supporter groups are hopping that there will be no trouble off the pitch.
Working hard behind the scenes both clubs are making concerted attempts to urge fans not to get involved in violence inside and around the ground and with the police presence likely to be high opportunities to clash will be limited. Looking at the bigger picture any acts of violence will not only impact on the clubs but the image of Welsh football and this will be detrimental to the game and could put off people from going to games. Police have also already sent their warning to supporters with Bob Evans South Wales Police's chief constable promising robust action should both sets of supporters clash. Restraint must be shown in an environment that looks set to be boiling like a cauldron but common sense must prevail.
Both sets of supporters want to win that much is clear but the way in which football is supported has radically changed gone are the days where there are mass brawls before games something that must be upheld .That does not stop passionate support for each side nor should it make people afraid to go to the game. It is a game that I have avoided at all costs since I started going to see the Swans 19 years ago but the lure of this game has proved to big to ignore, as it has many a Swansea fan.
Ticket sales have been steady for the game with huge queues outside the Liberty Stadium in the days after the tickets went on sale it certainly has fed the apatite amongst Swansea fans for some it will be their first taste of a derby clash.
Set to be a sell out fans packed into the Liberty Stadium should be treated to a truly special event and an atmosphere that will spur on both sets of players. With the first competitive game between the two arch rivals in just under a decade it should prove to be a very high tempo game full of commitment and with both managers and squads understanding the enormity of one of the most fierce rivalries in British football fans and tv audiences are in for a real treat.
Roberto Martinez is fully expected to name a strong side as he and his players look forward in getting their first taste of a derby clash with the Bluebirds. All players must be firing on all cylinders. As of late we have not been taking our chances and the goals have dried up despite having last seasons league one top goalscorer at the club. Simply we must take our chances against last seasons FA Cup finalists not to do so will be our unhinging and the game will only end in heartache.
Forty miles down the road , Cardiff manager Dave Jones has hinted he may rest players with the league as a priority but the former Southampton boss has rallied his troops, but has warned his players not to lose focus and discipline. It is that ill discipline that the football league have tried to rule out with the appointment of premier league official Alan Wiley to take charge of the game.
The stage has been set but who will be the victor come full time? Well we don't have long to find out.
Date:Monday September 22 2008
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