Crunch matches ahead for all the Welsh clubs


With St. David’s Day just around the corner, we look ahead to some exciting times on the Welsh club scene.

Swansea City currently sit as the top club in Wales in terms of league position, though fans at the Stadium would have hoped for a more successful season this year after recent adventures nearer the top of the table chasing promotion and play-off places.

The Swans’ current position down amongst the Championship also will disappoint many, who had hoped that new boss Russel Martin could be the man to take them up after the sudden departure of Steve Cooper. The chance to test themselves against quality opposition was denied them recently as storm damage forced the cancellation of their home fixture against Scott Parker’s impressive Bournemouth outfit.

Swansea are without a game until Monday, when they make the relatively short trip to the Midlands to face a West Bromwich Albion side who themselves are struggling to fulfil their pre-season ambitions. Four defeats from five for the Baggies.

Swansea will still face a thought test at the Hawthorns though. They will hope that Ben Cabango can continue his recent good form. Skipper Matt Grimes has held his hands up in the face of recent poor form by the men in white, highlighting the need for the players to deliver. Recent performances against Stoke City and Sheffield United failed to match his expectations and he has taken it on the chin on behalf of the players in taking responsibility for the dismal shows.

Sky Sports have selected Albion v The Jacks for live screening on Monday night.

Despite their lowly placing, Swans fans will still feel there is plenty to play for in the current campaign as they look to secure local bragging rights by finishing above rivals Cardiff City.

The Bluebirds could have nudged themselves clear of their West Walian neighbours in midweek but fell to agonising late defeat away at the hands of an increasingly effective looking Huddersfield Town. It could all come down to a mouth-watering clash at the Cardiff City Stadium on 2 April as the South Wales rivals go head-to-head in the capital. Swansea will be looking to do the double in the derby ­with victory over Steve Morrison’s men, a feat yet to be achieved by either side incidentally. A remarkable statistic.

To add further fuel to the fire, Severnside rivals Bristol City are also rubbing shoulders with their Welsh neighbours in the Championship table. Swansea and Cardiff will hope to gain some ground on the Robins on a weekend where England v Wales rivalries are intense.

Cardiff City have hinted at a revival over recent weeks and recent results have probably settled their relegation fears. The Bluebirds were particularly impressive against struggling Peterborough but came slightly short against Millwall, Blackpool and, of course, Huddersfield Town.

Huddersfield preceded their victory with a great win at Craven Cottage and it is Fulham themselves who come to Cardiff this weekend. Expect former Bluebird Harry Wilson to be on song while Nico Wiliams can also point to some fine showings for Wales at the Cardiff City Stadium.

No doubt Wilson will be looking to provide more chances for Aleksandar Mitrovic to add to his amazing tally of 33 goals for the Cottagers, whilst also hoping to add to his own total of eight of course. With Cardiff City looking more relaxed of late it could be a great afternoon in the capital. Morrison will look to Tommy Doyle to continue his impressive form for Cardiff City on loan from Manchester City. Joel Bagan is also in astonishing goal-scoring form at wing-back.

Fulham will arrive in Cardiff having won seven of their last nine league outings, a run that has seen them open up a nine-point lead at the top of the table.

Whilst not quite being on a par with Mitrovic’s feats, Newport County boast the leading scorer in League 2 in the shape of Dominic Telford, who has notched an impressive 22 goals in 23 games in County’s stuttering march towards the play-off places. Their cause will not have been helped by the loss of striker Courtney Baker-Richardson and defenders Josh Pask and Priestley Farquharson due to injury. The Gwent side host promotion-chasing Tranmere Rovers today and currently sit in eighth spot, just below the play-off zone

Many Welsh eyes have focussed on the fortunes of Wrexham this season. The North Wales side have certainly been under the media spotlight thanks to their high-profile owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.

The Dragons have moved into fifth in the Vanarama National League as record signing Ollie Palmer scored twice to bring a crucial victory at second-place Chesterfield in midweek. Most neutrals in Wales will be quietly hoping that the club finally make that move up the football pyramid to join Swansea, Cardiff and Newport.

We could even see two Wesh derbies next year if Newport stumble in their promotion campaign. Amidst encouraging talk of development proposals for their famous Racecourse home the future looks exciting up in North Wales.

In the JD Cymru Premier League, it is hard to see beyond perennial challengers TNS, who top the table with an amazing 21-point lead. They travel to Cardiff MET this weekend, who will play their last home game at Dragon Park in Newport due to storm damage at their Cyncoed base. TNS are chasing league and cup glory this season, though giant-killers Colwyn Bay may have something to say about that in their forthcoming Welsh Cup semi-final clash. The winners will face the victors from the tie between Bridgend-based Penybont and Bala Town for the right to contest the silverware.

Exciting times ahead then as so many teams in Wales enter the business end of the season. Next month also sees the national side chase World Cup glory via the play-offs. More of that to come. In the meantime….Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus pawb!

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