Cwmamman coach Stephens says derby is ‘huge day’ for clubs
Ahead of the Amman Valley derby this weekend, Cwmamman assistant manager Ryan Stephens has stressed how big of a day it is for both clubs.
This weekend’s derby match is the first between the two sides in Welsh League Division One, as they lock horns for the first time this season at Grenig Park on Saturday.
But, this match will see Stephens face off against some familiar faces, as he goes up against his former club.
Stephens is a former Ammanford Assistant Manager, but he returned to his boyhood club Cwmamman United this summer as part of the management team to guide the home side into the new season.
But, the assistant manager stresses he has nothing but respect for his former club and is excited about the prospect of going up against the local neighbours this weekend.
“I am very passionate and get excited every Saturday regardless of the opposition. Take nothing away from the occasion, it is a huge day for both clubs. It’s a great achievement having two clubs so close competing at such a level in Welsh football.”
Cwmamman head into the match with four points from their opening three games, whilst Ammanford have picked up just the one point so far this term.
However, Stephens knows from past experience that form heading into the game is often irrelevant and that the passion from both sides can take over, but believes his side have been unfortunate not to have more points at this stage of the season.
“We have been very unfortunate to walk away empty handed from the Undy game, they were a very strong side nonetheless, but we conceded cheap goals. Since then we haven’t conceded goal in our last three matches. We played a good Port Talbot side who we battled well against, but the stats don’t lie and we had more chances and the better of them,” said the Cwmamman assistant manager.
“Going into a big local derby like this sometimes emotions take over and it’s who wants it more on the day.”
Having grown up as part of the Cwmamman United junior setup, Stephens knows the importance of the derby.
But, being that it is the first Amman Valley derby in the second tier of Welsh football, both sides will be vying for the bragging rights for the first half of the season.
As part of the new look coaching staff at Cwmamman, Stephens and the management team at the club already know how important a victory over the local rivals is for the club, the players and the fans of the Blues, and he thinks they’ve prepared well for the tough test.
“Eirian, Jeff and Brendon turning things around at the end of last season was a fantastic achievement. I was welcomed in at the end of last season, we have worked hard over the pre-season and have seen promising signs already and we are looking to push on.”
“Every victory is important, points on the board are points on the board. To win a local derby is a big boost for a club and the followers. I know there will be people from both clubs who would give their house up for a win against each other.”
Cwmamman United will be hoping they can be the ones with the town bragging rights come Saturday evening.