South Wales derby is ‘massive for the city’ says Swans captain Matt Grimes

Grimes has been a mainstay in midfield since Swansea's relegation from the Premier League. Image courtesy of Swansea City FC

by Callum Ellis

MATT Grimes has already experienced his fair share of tasty rivalries and will lead Swansea City in the first south Wales derby of the season today.

The former Exeter City midfielder previously featured in the Devon derby during his days with his hometown club and also played in the east Lancashire derby while on loan at Blackburn Rovers.

But when Cardiff City make the short trip along the M4 to take on the Swans – the first meeting between the sides in five years – Grimes will get his first taste of the fierce rivalry.

“This is massive for the city,” says Grimes. “It’s what you should thrive on as a footballer and it’s not just a game for the players. We’ve got the responsibility on our shoulders to deliver something. 

“There’s no getting away from how big a game it is, so we’ll prepare for it exactly like we do for every other game.
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“But we know there will be more of an edge to it and both teams will really be wanting to win. We hope we can do enough on the day.”

Grimes made the switch to the Liberty Stadium four years ago and has become a mainstay in the Swans’ midfield since their relegation from the Premier League in 2018.

He was handed the captaincy by manager Steve Cooper ahead of this season’s campaign and, despite not feeling any added pressure on his shoulders ahead of the clash, he is aware there will be no place to hide come 12 noon.

And says he will take advice from midfield duo Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge who both played in the most recent meeting between the two sides, helping the Swans to a 3-0 victory in February 2014.
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“You’re told [about the rivalry] as soon as you walk through the doors at Swansea,” he adds.

“I’ve been waiting three and a half years for my chance to play in one of these.

“It’s a massive game where all of the players will be looking to put on their best football and really show everyone what we can do.

“You learn from the more experienced players as to just how much it means. The fans talk about it and you can’t get away from the vibe in the city.”

Having slumped to a 3-0 defeat against Brentford – their heaviest defeat since Cooper’s arrival – on Tuesday evening, the Swans have only managed one win in their last seven league games.

And Grimes believes a victory over their biggest rivals could reignite the form that they displayed in the opening months of the campaign.
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“We’ve had a run of disappointing games and especially at home, with Nottingham Forest, Reading, Stoke and now [against Brentford].

“It could be the perfect game to kickstart us again. We know how much it means and we’re determined to take three points. 

“I’ve watched them [Cardiff] a couple of times and it’s clear what threats they pose but I feel like form and any momentum that you have goes out the window for any derby.

“It’s just purely about that one game so I think if we focus on our game and play the best we can, it gives us a good chance of winning it. 

“We’re looking forward to the challenge.”