One glance at the Npower Championship table is enough to tell you why this weekend’s South Wales derby between Cardiff and Swansea has added significance this time around.
Cardiff went to the top of the table after beating Norwich City last Saturday and remain unbeaten at home.
Undoubtedly, the loan signing of Craig Bellamy has played a major part in their success so far, though how it’s being funded remains a bone of contention among Cardiff’s Championship rivals.
Certainly you get the impression that it’s all or nothing for the Bluebirds this season. Beaten play-off finalists in May, there would be a further massive strain on Cardiff’s already contentious finances should they fail to achieve the holy grail of promotion this time around.
All’s going well at the moment, however, though Dave Jones will be without top scorer Jay Bothroyd for the visit of their near neighbours.
But Michael Chopra hasn’t taken long to rediscover his form after injury and it was he who scored the late winner when the teams met at the Cardiff City Stadium last season.
Unlike their opponents, the Swans don’t appear to be in a hurry to reach the Premier League but are making progress year on year and are in cracking form at present.
They’ll be boosted by the return of Garry Monk after suspension and will feel, in Scott Sinclair and Darren Pratley, they have the firepower to exploit Cardiff’s perceived lack of composure at the back.
I fancy Swansea to earn a point at Victor Chandler’s odds of 13/5, though the visitors are a tempting 2/1 with the same firm in the Draw No Bet market.