Football aim to end season on a high

Cardiff University’s men’s football team will be hoping to put a forgettable league season behind them and secure a third successive Varsity victory over their Swansea University rivals.

gair rhydd Sport sat down with captain Nick Feely and vice-captain Christopher Hugh to discuss their chances in this year’s big fixture and how the season has gone for the 1st XI.

The team needs to avoid defeat to Bath University’s 2nd XI in their final BUCS league game to avoid relegation to the fourth tier of university league football, but both Feely and Hugh are adamant they can secure their league status and beat Swansea, who sit in the division above Cardiff.

“We’re pretty confident,” says Feely, who scored twice in last year’s 3-2 Varsity triumph. He acknowledges the team’s struggles this season but notes that “injuries, inconsistency and playing games in the middle of exams” has left the club with no option but to field “effectively a third-string team” in some fixtures.

Hugh feels that Swansea may underestimate Cardiff come Varsity: “I think they’ll be expecting to win it quite comfortably after our season and them being in a higher division than us”.

However, he confidently asserted that “it’s a totally different game –  everyone’ll be up for it”. Feely added that Cardiff will be at full-strength.

Around 700 tickets have been sold for the game, which takes place at 12pm at the main Welsh Institute of Sport pitch on Wednesday. The Vice-Captain thinks that the “different atmosphere” makes Varsity unique compared to a league match and hopes that it can help them replicate the success Cardiff have now tasted twice in a row.

Feely, in assessment of his team’s season, says that they’ve “been good going forward, just a bit weak in defence”.

He will be captaining the team for the first time at Varsity and, when asked if he can handle the pressure after his goal-scoring heroics last year, he modestly replies “I hope so”.

His vice-captain Hugh has been involved in three Varsities already, and says that most of the squad “have had a taste of it” and are well prepared for the game.

After the controversy over an offensive PowerPoint that was displayed on a social, which led to a two-week ban for the whole Football Club in November. Feely believes that both the points lost as a result of the ban and the Medics teams being integrated with the University Football Club has seen many of the teams struggle.

Of Cardiff’s six men’s teams, the thirds and fifths suffered relegation, while only the seconds managed to go up a division.

A win over Swansea on Wednesday, though, could make it all worthwhile. Both Feely and Hugh admit they would prefer a Varsity victory over avoiding relegation, but are very confident of achieving both feats with a full squad.

Joe Atkinson

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