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Page last updated at 09:01 GMT, Thursday, 27 November 2008

Coleman misses Vetch Field derbies

By David Dulin
BBC Sport Wales

Chris Coleman

Former Swansea City defender Chris Coleman says he was never able to sleep in the run up to the south Wales derbies.

Swansea host Cardiff on Sunday for the first time in the League in nine years and Coleman had his share of derby action during his time there.

The Coventry City manager made 181 league and cup appearances for the Swans between 1987 and 1991, scoring three goals.

In that time Swansea and came Cardiff face to face eight times, six were in the league and two in the League Cup.

Swansea won twice, Cardiff three times and the other three ended in draws as both teams struggled in the lower divisions of the Football League.

"I think about the derbies we used to have at the Vetch, when I played there," said Swansea-born Coleman, 38.

"I couldn't sleep for days building up to the game because Swansea v Cardiff was the game.

"If you were born in Swansea or Cardiff you know what that means and that's the game you want to be involved in.

"I used to love it.

"The Vetch only held 10,000-12,000 but you could smell the hatred, and the atmosphere was terrific.

"I'd give anything to play in that game again."

Chris Coleman
Coleman played for Swansea from 1987 to 1991

The Vetch of course is no more, nor are the two sides still struggling in the lower divisions of the Football League.

But it has only been in the last decade that they have both started to really climb.

The Swans promotion in May means the two sides will meet in the second tier of English football for the first time since 1984.

It will not be the first taste of action for the Swans' new Liberty Stadium home though.

Just two months ago the Carling Cup threw the rivals together in the third round which Swansea won 1-0.

And former Wales international Coleman thinks the Swans will hold on to the bragging rights on Sunday.

"Swansea are on the up and doing well," he said. "Cardiff are also doing well and it's a credit to Welsh football.

"But I think Swansea will win. I really like the way they play, they are difficult to play against.

"I know from my time in Spain (as Real Sociedad manager) they play same way that we would face week in week out.

"If Swansea score first, they will go on to win the game."

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see also
Perry thrived on derby abuse
27 Nov 08 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
28 Oct 08 |  Wales


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