Maxwell predicts physical affair between Dracs and Whitchurch
League leaders Cardiff Draconians travel to Whitchurch Hospital on Saturday as the two Cardiff sides meet in a fixture that has all the ingredients of a local derby, Draconians manager Layton Maxwell says his side will be business as usual though.
One player who may play a big part in the local clash s Liam Williams who’s free-kick was captured from two angles last Saturday as the Draconians recorded a 7-1 victory over Porthcawl Town Athletic.
“Willow (Liam Williams) is a very important player to us on and off the pitch. He has always played at a higher level and you can see that as he is a true leader on the pitch, both vocally and physically. Last weekend’s free-kick against Porthcawl was his 6th of the season. Luckily for us he is a Gabalfa boy, so he loves the Dracs.”
Earlier in the season, AFC Whitchurch got the best of Cardiff Draconians at Llanidloes Road, but the Draconians were without a number of players that day.
This season is the first time both sides have been in the same division and with most players familiar with the Whitchurch surroundings, it could be perceived as a new derby being formed. The Dracs recently played fellow Cardiff based side Canton Liberal and the former Liverpool player said that that match had a physical edge to it, expecting the same this Saturday.
“It is most definitely a derby match. A few of our boys have friends playing for them so I doubt there will be any holding back from both sides. We played Canton Liberal in the John Owen Cup a few weeks ago and the tackles were flying in, I expect the same on Saturday.
They (AFC Whitchurch) beat us in the reverse fixture when we were missing a few players. With social media getting bigger and bigger it’s always nice to get a victory over your neighbours. A few of our players went to Whitchurch High School.
Whitchurch shocked us a bit with their quality but I expct a completely different game this time round.”
Maxwell, who has played for a number of Welsh sides had featured for the Liverpool first team before and even scored a goal in front of the Kop End in a League Cup fixture against Hull City back in 1999.
The former Cardiff and Swansea player says that Steve Heighway was a massive influence on him and he tries to follow suit of the coach that guided him through his playing career by implementing the same kind of style with Cardiff Draconians.
“I was lucky enough to grow up wiith some exceptionally talented footbalers and coaches. I started my career at Liverpool under the supervision of Steve Heighway, who in my opinion was the best coach coach around.
I always remember his sessions and try to implement them to the Dracs training. Most of my players have improved each season and long may that continue, at this level of football it’s important to do the simple things right and keep drumming that into the players each week.”
Well yes. It makes my team talk a lot easier on Saturday for sure. I think back then we were undefeated and took the game for granted. I think whitchurch shocked us a bit with their quality. I expect a completely different game this time around.
Going into the game, the confidence in the Cardiff Dracs camp will be running high, with no defeat since the 10th September.
“It’s important to have a winning mentality and at present, we are all fighting for each other. I have a big squad and competition for places is a major factor in keeping all squad members working hard.”
The relatively young manager, approaching his 40s says promotion was the aim at the start of the season and the signings he has made has boosted the Dracs chances of promotion.
“We are desperate as a group to get a second consecutive promotion. Promotion was the only target for us at the beginning of the season. I brought in 3-4 new faces in the summer to help improve the squad. All dropping down from higher divisions.
I have a striker called Leighton James, who is quick and the most hard working centre forward I have seen in a long time. He has scored 20 plus goals already this season and his hard work is paying off. If he scored half the chances he creates for himself, he would hit 50 no problem.
We play in a style that gets bodies forward quickly, after winning the ball back should we lose it. We press high like a Liverpool or a Barcelona mentality and that has paid off.
I am not surprised we sit at the top of the league because I know how much quality we have in the team. Clwb Cymric arre a strong, fit and well organised side and it will be a big ask to fiend them off. Whitchurch, Ynshir and Dynamo Aber are also decent sides, fighting for the top three.”
Finishing off, Maxwell played down the fixture in terms of it deciding the season and that the pressure is off and tha the Draconians will play their normal game. He also spoke about those who will unfortunately miss the anticipated clash.
“A win for us Saturday would widen the gap between us. It’s just another game though will be my message to the players, no pressure will be put on them. If everyone plays to their ability, then we will have no problems.
At this moment, a couple of players are carrying knocks and I have lost Craig Latham to work commitments. We are pretty much full strength and ready for Saturday.”