Swansea City - Cardiff City Preview: Monk takes the reins for South Wales derby
The hosts begin life without Michael Laudrup with a visit from their local rivals but could be boosted by the return from injury of several key players, including Michu
By Jack Davies
|Bet:||Returns:||Sunderland €20.00||Draw €34.00||Cardiff €37.50|
Having seen Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replace Malky Mackay at the conclusion of their own managerial saga in January, Cardiff fans will have watched on with interest as their fierce rivals surprisingly sacked Michael Laudrup on Tuesday.
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Club captain Garry Monk has been installed as Swansea head coach "for the foreseeable future", and could not have wished for a more high-pressure match to begin his tenure.
Cardiff currently sit in the Premier League relegation zone, two points adrift of safety, while Swansea are three points better off in 12th. Victory would therefore represent a huge boost to either team's survival hopes.
The men from the capital won the reverse fixture 1-0 back in November, but no side has ever completed a league double in this clash, heaping further pressure on Monk to deliver the goods on his first foray into management.
When the sides last met at the Liberty Stadium, Craig Bellamy, who became the first player to score for seven different Premier League clubs last weekend, scored the only goal to give Cardiff victory.
Solskjaer's men will be wary, though, of Swansea's secret derby weapon, Marvin Emnes, who signed on loan from Middlesbrough on the final day of the January transfer window. The Dutchman netted the winner in the hosts' last triumph over Cardiff in 2010, and could go into the squad for Saturday.
Chico Flores will be involved after new boss Monk played down a recent spat between the pair.
Michu (ankle), Jose Canas (ankle) and Michel Vorm (knee) are all nearing returns for Swansea and Monk will hope to have all three at his disposal, while Jonjo Shelvey (hamstring) is a doubt.
For the visitors, Mark Hudson (hamstring) is pushing for a recall, but Andrew Taylor is sidelined by a calf problem.
Speaking in the build-up to the derby, Monk said: "It's massive. The circumstances make it even bigger but we are focused on the football now.
"We lost the first game at their place and they will want to do us at our place.
"These are the sorts of games you want to play in and be a part of."
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Top 3 Predictions
Swansea City 1-2 Cardiff City
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