Lee Trundle column: Not playing in a Swansea City v Cardiff City derby my biggest regret
NEVER playing in a South Wales derby is possibly the biggest regret of my Swansea City career.
I was on the bench twice in the 2009-2010 season, when we won at the Liberty and lost 2-1 at their place.
But Paulo Sousa didn't put me on.
That was hard to take and I can remember getting a little bit emotional in the changing room after the second of those games.
Of course I was upset because Michael Chopra had just scored a last-minute goal to give Cardiff a win.
But I also knew that was my last chance to experience the game for myself.
I had sampled the build-up and gone through the pre-match drills on the pitch beforehand and I loved the feel of the fixture.
There was a different kind of atmosphere, a nervous tension all around in the stands, and that made me want to taste the game for myself even more.
I think it is a match that would have really suited me — I got it.
As soon as I arrived in Swansea I had a connection with the fans.
I understood them, they were passionate about football, wanted their team to do well and the support they showed me was magnificent.
Nothing would have given me more pleasure than to score a winning goal in the derby for them.
But it wasn't to be.
I don't think Paulo gave me a fair crack of the whip, not just in that match but during the entire season.
He preferred to play Shefki Kuqi or Gorka Pintado up front, seemingly because they were better at defending set-pieces.
Paulo was all about defending, and that didn't leave much room for a flair player like me.
Call me crazy, but I always thought forwards were there to attack and score goals.
Gorka played 34 games that season and found the net just twice.
Despite nearly always finding myself on the bench — I started only two games — I still finished with five goals. But it was hopeless. Once I came off the bench at Peterborough, scored twice and was still named as a substitute for the next match against Plymouth.
Then I came on, scored the winner in that game and it still wasn't enough to get me a starting spot.
I didn't say anything to Paulo at the time because I was still hopeful of getting a contract for the next season and didn't want to rock the boat.
Now I wish I'd discussed it with him because I wasn't happy.
Still, football is about ups and downs. Let's just hope it's Swansea that are riding high tomorrow night.
I will be at the game, although it'll be a rare trip to Cardiff for me.
I'm still not too popular in those parts, so I tend to keep my distance.
My passion is for Swansea and I've spent this week trying to make sure the newer players at the club know exactly what this game is all about.
Myself, Monks (Garry Monk) and Britts (Leon Britton) can all help explain to the lads who have recently come in how much it means.
As far as I'm concerned, this is a cup final.
A lot of the lads have played in derbies before, but this one is different.
Having grown up in Merseyside, I've seen a very different type of match between two rivals.
Back home it's not uncommon to have members of the same family supporting different teams.
Liverpool and Everton fans go to the pub and watch the game together. That would never happen here.
There is an edge to this game that sends the stakes soaring.
Don't get me wrong, I would never support any violence when it comes to football, but the sheer level of hostility creates an incredible atmosphere.
I don't think we go into the game in the best of form.
Although results have been okay, it just seems like the passing isn't quite as crisp as it sometimes can be.
Cardiff are a decent side, a classic example of a team who have come out of the Championship looking to survive.
Swansea have slightly higher standards. We have a clear identity through our brand of football.
A win in this game would really give Swansea an injection. It could be the launch pad that helps the lads find top gear.
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