Swansea vs Cardiff predictions: Top four beckons for Swans
The early weeks of 2022-23 saw Cardiff flirting with the playoff places while Swansea were mired within the relegation zone, but recent results have reversed the two clubs' fortunes.
After a run of five wins in six games, Swansea now go into the South Wales derby with an eye on breaking into the promotion slots, while five defeats in nine see the Bluebirds slipping deep into the bottom half.
Cardiff supporters would love nothing more than to dent their hated rivals' promotion hopes, with the three points towards stabilising their own position a mere cherry on top of the cake.
But to do so they would have to achieve something that has not come easy in recent times and beat a Swansea side who have hogged the bragging rights in this fiercely contested derby.
Swansea midfielder Joe Allen remains out with a hamstring problem picked up last month that could now risk his World Cup participation.
He is joined on the sidelines by fellow midfielders Liam Walsh and Jamie Paterson, who are both expected to return in early November.
Forward Joel Piroe serves the second match of his suspension but Ryan Manning has a chance of returning after missing the last two games through injury.
For Cardiff, left-back Jamilu Collins is a long-term absentee with an anterior cruciate ligament injury and is not expected back until the final weeks of the season.
Right-back Mahlon Romeo and winger Rubin Colwill are both out for a couple more weeks and while Ebou Adams is closing in on a return from the shoulder surgery that has denied him his Cardiff debut, he will not be back until mid-November.
Centre-back Jack Simpson was sent off against QPR on Wednesday night and is suspended for the trip to Swansea.
Despite a bright start to the season that brought Cardiff two wins in their first three league outings, Cardiff averaged just 1.1 points per game in their 10 matches under Steve Morison.
Following Morison’s sacking, caretaker manager Mark Hudson got off to a flying start, claiming a draw and a victory over title-chasing pair Burnley and Blackburn and following up with a 3-1 win at Wigan.
However, in their last two games Cardiff have lost 1-0 at home to then-bottom side Coventry and were thumped 3-0 at QPR in midweek, albeit with the Bluebirds having been reduced to 10 men early on against the league leaders.
Cardiff have scored just once in their last seven South Wales derbies — a 1-0 win at the Liberty Stadium in 2020-21 — drawing 0-0 at home in 2020 but losing the other five meetings.
While the South Wales derby is a fiercely contested rivalry, it has not been particularly fiery during that seven-match run, with just 27 yellows collected — including one second yellow that saw Cardiff’s Joe Ralls sent off in 2020 — meaning there has been an average of just 3.86 cards per game since 2014.
While the departure of Morison seemed to give Cardiff a brief bounce under interim manager Hudson, there must be concerns that the honeymoon is over following successive losses to QPR and Coventry.
Defeat in west London was no cause for concern given the circumstances but losing at home to a poor Coventry side is a worry, even if Hudson had justification in feeling aggrieved with a couple of big refereeing calls.
Getting a point or three at Swansea is a big ask for Hudson’s men as the Bluebirds have a dire recent record against their Welsh rivals and their hosts are growing in confidence with every passing week.
Russell Martin’s side had been playing far better than their results suggested in the early stages of the season, when they collected just six points from their first seven games, and it never seemed likely they would be languishing in the lower reaches of the Championship for too long.
Five wins in six have rightly shot the Swans up the table and on current form they look a good price at 23/20 with LiveScore Bet to claim another victory in the South Wales derby.