skip to content

Britton braced for Bluebirds battle

03 Nov 2013 10:17:01

Britton braced for Bluebirds battle

Leon Britton believes Swansea will have to be wary of Cardiff's "siege mentality" in Sunday's south Wales derby.

The 106th meeting between the two clubs, but the first in the Barclays Premier League, will see the eyes of a global TV audience focused on Cardiff City Stadium.

The home side are considered to be slight underdogs, and enter the game on the back of unwanted media attention following the furore which accompanied the removal of Iain Moody as manager Malky Mackay's head of recruitment.

His acting replacement, Alisher Apsalyamov, cannot currently work for Cardiff in an official capacity while the Home Office investigate the 23-year-old's visa situation.

According to recent reports, owner Vincent Tan also signed Slovenian striker Etien Velikonja without Mackay's approval in 2012, while the manager's future has come in for close outside scrutiny.

But Swansea midfielder Britton, a veteran of six meetings with the Bluebirds, knows the off-field turmoil may well have brought Mackay and his players closer together.

"It's natural that if there is speculation about the manager leaving you talk about it. But as players you have to remain focused and behind the manager," Britton said.

"If Cardiff have ups and downs they haven't shown it. They have dealt with it very well.

"You can develop a siege mentality when people on the outside upset you. You close ranks and try to get results. They have a lot of negative publicity but a win on Sunday will quieten that all down.

"As a player you can't think about outside influences. When you cross that line, they all go out the window."

Since Cardiff's promotion to the top flight was confirmed in April, the sense of expectation among both sets of supporters has gradually reached a fever pitch.

Britton admits Bluebirds fans have not been shy about their desire to topple Swansea.

"I do go to Cardiff now and again," he said.

"A couple of months ago I was walking past the Job Centre and a lad pulled me aside and said, 'You've got some front walking through town, but we're coming for you'.

"Then in the summer I went with the wife and family when Cardiff had a friendly against Bilbao. I kept my head down and with the buggy and the kids I thought I'd be all right. It's my safety guard!

"I've done six of these games and the build-up is always the same. Everywhere you go, even when you are getting petrol at the station, the fans' message is 'You can't lose'.

"It's the first one in the top flight but it would be the same to the fans whether it's in the Premier League or League Two. The feelings, the intensity and the rivalry is always there.

"If you lose, you stay in the house and switch the phone off and take no calls. If you win, the first thing you do back in the dressing room is check the phone for messages.

"One derby day can be fantastic and one of the best memories for life, but the next one can be one of the worst."


PA

Sponsored links