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Page last updated at 06:32 GMT, Monday, 29 March 2010 07:32 UK

Swansea City to be 'fresh' for South Wales derby

Coca Cola Championship - Cardiff City v Swansea City
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium Date: Saturday, 3 April Starts: 1720 BST
Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra & online, live text commentary online and score updates BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sport website. Live on Sky Sports 1

Swansea manager Paulo Sousa
Sousa took charge of Swansea last summer after Roberto Martinez' exit

Paulo Sousa hopes his Swansea City will be "fresh" for their crucial South Wales derby with Championship play-off rivals Cardiff City on Saturday.

The Swans suffered a miserable March, enjoying just one win in seven games, but Sousa's side remain in the top six, five points ahead of the chasing pack.

Now Swansea have a week to prepare for the first of their six remaining games.

"March has been difficult for us with injuries and players being very tired, especially mentally," said boss Sousa.

Swansea took six points from a possible 21 during a hectic and gruelling March schedule of playing seven games inside 21 days.

"I'm happy that this month has gone," admitted Swans boss Sousa.

Now the fifth-placed Welsh club enjoy a little time to catch their breath before the start of a crucial play-off run-in starting at the home of their in-form neighbours.

Swansea have a relatively straight-forward looking end of season as after they face Cardiff, Swansea play safe mid-table trio Scunthorpe, Bristol City and Barnsley.

But Sousa's men have a tough conclusion to their Championship season as Sheffield United and Doncaster Rovers are Swansea's final two games.


Swansea's immediate concern, though, is their all-Welsh clash with rejuvenated Cardiff whose third win in four games at Crystal Palace on Saturday ensured the Bluebirds leapfrogged the Swans in the table over the weekend.

"Hopefully after two or three days off, the players can come back with their minds completely fresh with fresh ideas," Sousa said.

"We have a full week to train and recover our minds and bodies to have fresh ideas and to prepare well for the game."

"We come into a nice, enthusiastic month and I'm very positive and confident that we are ready for that."

Sousa is also hoping to have an almost fully-fit squad at his disposal after suffering with a growing injury list in recent weeks, particularly in defence and midfield.

Performances have at times looked jaded and the Swans suffered a shock 5-1 defeat at Blackpool last week - a week after seeing their automatic promotion dreams ended by West Bromwich Albion.

But midfield duo Andrea Orlandi and Joe Allen made their comebacks from injury in Saturday's 0-0 draw with Ipswich, while captain Garry Monk and fellow defender Fede Bessone are also nearing returns.

"They are important players for us and when we have all the squad ready and fresh we can be ourselves," added Sousa.

The Portuguese manager will be keeping a close eye on Tuesday's clash between Cardiff and Leicester, who sit either side of the Swans in the play-off places.

But he will not let it effect what happens next at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday - even though the Swans have not been beaten at the home of their arch-rivals since 1993.

Sousa insisted: "We need to keep focused on ourselves."

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see also
Swansea 'still in driving seat'
28 Mar 10 |  Swansea
Cardiff in 'ugly' play-off push
27 Mar 10 |  Cardiff
Crystal Palace 1-2 Cardiff
27 Mar 10 |  Championship
Swansea 0-0 Ipswich
27 Mar 10 |  Championship

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