South Wales derby: We all know the history, says Swansea's Leon Britton
LEON Britton insists Swansea City's new recruits will be primed and ready for Sunday's clash with arch-rivals Cardiff.
Of the eleven who started against West Ham on Sunday, only Britton, skipper Ashley Williams, defenders Angel Rangel and Neil Taylor and winger Nathan Dyer have previously played in a South Wales derby.
And none of the substitutes on Sunday have had any experience of the fixture.
Britton is a veteran of Swansea-Cardiff matches, having featured in six out of the seven meetings since the match was revived following a near-10 year absence in 2008.
The only game the midfielder missed was Swansea's last visit to the Cardiff City Stadium — when a Marvin Emnes goal handed Brendan Rodgers's side a 1-0 win — because he was at Sheffield United.
And the man who first joined Swansea on loan from West Ham in 2002 will make sure Swansea's new arrivals are well aware of what is riding on the game. "We're looking forward to the derby. We know what it means. There are obviously a lot of new players at the club since the last derby, but there are a few of us who remain," said Britton
"It will be a great occasion and should be a fantastic game. We can relay what the game means to the football club, the fans and the city.
"But they know. They have been here a while now. They know the history of the football club. To be fair, the Spanish lads have played in derby matches over there, so they are used to it."
The likes of Michel Vorm, Chico Flores, Michu and Wilfried Bony are among those set to sample the white-hot atmosphere of derby day for the first time.
Britton has been involved in an even split of wins, draws and losses in games for Swansea against Cardiff.
He was part of that memorable League Cup night in 2008 when a Jordi Gomez free-kick settled the first game between the sides for nine years.
Then the 31-year-old was sent off at the death when Cardiff returned to the Liberty for a Championship match two months later. Britton has tasted the ecstasy of victory and agony of defeat, with one of his most painful experiences a last-minute winning goal scored by Michael Chopra in 2010. "The games in the Championship were fantastic. The record still stands that no team has done the double over each other in history," added Britton.
"We've had great games, great wins and fantastic memories. We've had some horrible ones as well. I remember the last derby here when Bellamy scored a cracking goal and up at Cardiff, Chopra scored late.
"They are great days but only when you win. Equally it's a bad day when you lose.
"It's very different. It's like a cup final. Sometimes it's crazy. It can be hard to control the game as it is so fast and furious at times. But they are great occasions to be involved in with great atmospheres."
The match will be referee by Mike Dean, who was hit by a coin and left bleeding from an injury above his right eye during the South Wales derby at Ninian Park in 2009.
"There have been a few sending offs, but in the five or six derby games I've played in they have been pretty good and not too much trouble or 22-man brawls," he recalled. "There's been the odd sending off, but they have usually been for two yellow cards rather than straight reds.
"The main thing is you want 11 players on the pitch to give you the best chance to win. It's great for Welsh football that the derby is in the Premier League.
"The first one is on Sunday, but we want that to carry on for the next five to ten years and have both clubs in the Premier League because it is fantastic for the young kids and fans to watch and support their local team rather than the big clubs like Man Utd and Liverpool."