Swansea City vs Cardiff City preview: How to watch, kick-off time, predicted lineups, team news and ones to watch
Cardiff City players celebrate following their 1-0 win over Swansea City last season (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

On Sunday afternoon, the Jack Army host their Welsh rivals in what can only be bookmarked as a must-win for Russell Martin's troops.

Having taken over from Steve Cooper following last season's pitiful play-off final heartbreak at the hands of Brentford, embedding his philosophy has been a waiting process for Martin. 

At the time of writing, his side find themselves 19th in the Championship, with a return of two victories from 11 matches making for miserable viewing among the Swansea City faithful.

Prior to the International break, a trip to Derbyshire had resulted in a 0-0 draw with Wayne Rooney's resilient Rams, after losing 3-1 at Fulham days before.

Concerns had been briefly alleviated with a narrow 1-0 victory over Huddersfield Town- which was Swansea's most recent outing on home soil- however, consistency is yet to kick in.

After all, it is a results-based business, and while Martin's possession-based brand of football provokes reinvented traditionalisms brought back from the club's Premier League days, winning matches remains the number one mission call.

They will need to do that sooner rather than later if they are to genuinely contend for promotion, which is what fans will desire after coming so close over the last two seasons.

Supporters of Cardiff City also harbour the same ambitions, but they too have rode a vicious tide this term.

Despite a bright start, the Bluebirds have faltered considerably as of late, enduring defeat in seven of their last eight fixtures across all competitions.

The manner of some of those defeats is an even greater call for concern.

Their latest affair saw them fall at the hands of former winger Junior Hoilett in a tight 1-0 win for Reading, yet considerably heavier losses have been sustained in recent weeks.

In only a matter of days, tomorrow's visitors succumbed to a disastrous 5-1 loss  at Blackburn Rovers before then enduring a similar fate back in Wales, where they would lose 4-0 at home to West Bromwich Albion.

Unsurprisingly, such a poor run of form has left manager Mick McCarthy with a real uphill battle. It would be fair to say that, for now, many supporters believe a change is necessary, though there is no better occasion for the veteran coach to win over this fanbase once again.

  • Team news

Confidence levels in Swansea may well have went up a notch in the wake of Martin's latest press conference, of which he provided a key assessment on the availability of several star players.

"I think we'll have all of the guys back," he told WalesOnline on Wednesday afternoon.

"Ryan Bennett will be back, Michael Obafemi will be back, Olivier (Ntcham) will be back so we'll be in good shape for that hopefully."

Bennett and Obafemi have both sat out of the last three affairs, while promising central midfielder Ntcham has been sidelined with a hamstring issue.

Ntcham, though, has already endeared himself to supporters after signing from Celtic in the summer. 

The Frenchman inspired a dramatic late comeback at Luton Town last month, coming off the bench to score a scintillating long-range strike along with assisting for Jamie Paterson.

On the other hand, McCarthy expects to have a full squad for the match. 

Captain Sean Morrison has returned to contention, having missed the 1-0 defeat to Reading owing to a thigh strain.

Another positive is that Kieffer Moore has recovered well after suffering a whack to the eye during International duty, which had left him with blurred vision. 

One would expect the hulking hitman to lead the line tomorrow afternoon and, having scored for Wales in their recent victory over Estonia, he may well have the confidence that has been absent in the last few weeks.

And while Morrison and Moore have both endured the exhilarations of derby day- as well as the trials and tribulations, of course- it is a new opportunity for young Sam Bowen.

He has been the latest cab off of the rank in terms of Cardiff's youth integration this term as he seeks to echo the successes of various fellow academy graduates.

Bowen, who has started twice in the Championship so far this term, was absent from Wales under-21's loss to the Netherlands through illness, although he will be fully fit for battle. 

One player who will not be, however, is Tom Sang. Cardiff's utility man has been struggling with a toe issue since the twilight of last term and it seems likely that Perry Ng will fill his void. 

Other than that, Cardiff have genuine freedom with their selection and that will no doubt aid their pursuit for victory at such a pivotal time for the club. 

  • Predicted lineups

 

Swansea (3-4-2-1):

Hamer; Cabango, Bennett, Manning; Latibeaudiere, Downes, Grimes, Bidwell; Ntcham, Paterson; Piroe

Cardiff (3-4-3):

Smithies; Morrison, Flint, Nelson; Ng, Pack, Ralls, Bagan; Bacuna, Moore, Giles

 

  • Players to watch

Swansea - Joel Piroe

One of Swansea's many summer recruits amid a significant alteration to the playing squad, striker Joel Piroe will be chomping at the bit to continue his red-hot form against Cardiff.

So far, the transition to English football has proved seamless, with Piroe featuring on the scoresheet five times following his switch from Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven.

There is already a monumental reliance upon Piroe to inspire Swansea in the final third and he has scored more goals than any of his other teammates combined. 

This dependancy, though, is not entirely sustainable, and should Cardiff can find a way to eliminate their distinct goal threat, their chances of returning to winning ways look a whole lot rosier.

 

Cardiff - Ryan Giles

The importance of dynamic wide-man Ryan Giles in this Cardiff side can not be understated. Quite simply, he has been the difference maker this season. 

Many would claim that he has been, by some distance, the club's finest performer, wowing audiences with his speed, endurance, directness and crossing ability- which has translated to an impressive outlay of five assists in eight matches.

To do so in such an out-of-form team takes some doing, and it really illuminates the quality possessed by the Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee. 

And even more importantly, he realises the sheer magnitude of what lies ahead in tomorrow's crunch contest.

Arriving from the West Midlands on a season-long loan, he is yet to experience the fire, fury and frenzy of the South Wales Derby, but the drumming conversations with some of Cardiff's more battle-hardened individuals have allowed for a key perspective.

"I've had loads of conversations with Moz (Sean Morrison) and Flinty (Aden Flint), the experienced ones," he explained to WalesOnline.

"They emphasise how important these derbies are.

"They just say to embrace it and enjoy it. It's an exciting time and to be able to play in it is brilliant."

 

Previous meetings

The two rivals faced off twice last season, where the bragging rights were distributed evenly.

Back in December, it was Swansea who basked in euphoria after a 2-0 Jamal Lowe-inspired victory at the Cardiff City Stadium, although the Bluebirds would later avenge that defeat with a 1-0 win on away territory.

 

  • How to watch

As is the norm with this particular fixture, the match will be shown live on Sky Sports at 12:00 BST.

 

 

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