by Dan Cope
SWANSEA City host Cardiff City at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday with both managers set to experience their first south Wales derby.
It will also be five years since the last meeting between the two sides in the 2013/14 season.
The Swans are four points better off than the Bluebirds but have not won at home since August. However, head coach Steve Cooper believes that form does not matter when it comes to derbies.
“If there’s one game where form goes out the window, it is probably this one. I recognise that we haven’t won enough games recently,” he said.
“We spoke about it [on Tuesday night after a 3-0 defeat to Brentford] and a lot of the reflections came from the players first, but I’m happy we’ve put that behind us.”
Cooper said he was looking forward to the game on a personal level.
“I’m looking very much forward to it. I very much understand the magnitude of the game, being a south Walian myself. I was asked about it in my first press conference and it’s been mentioned every week.”
Cooper also admitted that he has gained advice from Swansea legends Leon Britton, Alan Tate and even Brendan Rodgers.
The Pontypridd born manager said: “We’ve tapped into a few people this week, Leon (Britton) is sporting director, Tatey, and I spent half an hour with Brendan [Rodgers] on the phone in the week as well, I got an insight from him on these games.”
Cooper said Rodgers spoke about the importance of the south Wales derby.
“He reinforced the magnitude of it. He spoke fondly, he had a great time here overall. He’s done the Old Firm and Mersyside derbies as well so he’s got those experiences, but he spoke really positively of this part of the world in general.”
Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock, a derby veteran in comparison, has spoken about the occasion, calling the fixture “special.”
The former Sheffield United boss said: “I’m aware how important it is and how people are looking forward to it”
Talking about the atmosphere, Warnock said: “The atmosphere will be fabulous and it’s why we’re all involved. Your heart beats a little bit quicker. I think it’s a special game, one to look forward to, and I’m sure the fans are!”
Cardiff are still searching for their first away win of the season after a frustrating 2-2 draw away to Millwall on Tuesday and Warnock has called on his players to rise to the occasion on Sunday.
“You just have to remind players not to lose your head, because you can get carried away with the atmosphere and forget what you’re supposed to be doing.
“We haven’t got anyone who’s played in a south Wales derby but I think we’ve got players with the character that you need in derbies.
“I look at the likes of Marlon Pack and Sean Morrison. I think you need the characters to stand up and be counted.”