Birmingham V Swansea at St Andrews Stadium - Match Preview

Laudrup excited by cup defence

Michael Laudrup admits it will be special for his Swansea side when they begin the defence of the only major honour in the club's history at Birmingham on Wednesday, and sees no reason why they cannot target another successful Capital One Cup campaign.

The Swans' ended their 101-year wait for one of the domestic game's main pieces of silverware when they beat Bradford 5-0 at Wembley in February to win last season's competition.

That victory granted them passage into the Europa League, where they enjoyed a famous 3-0 win over Valencia at the Mestalla last week.

With Laudrup and his squad battling on four fronts, the Dane could be forgiven for placing the League Cup at the bottom of his list of priorities.

But he has no intention of doing so.

Laudrup said: "It's the first game of our cup defence and I think we all still remember last season, so for us it is something special.

"Everybody still remembers the feeling of standing there with the trophy after winning against Bradford, and maybe as much the two semi-final legs against Chelsea or the win at Liverpool.

"We know the cup competitions are possibilities for smaller clubs to have success, you only need a few wins and you are in the semi-final.

"Last year we needed four wins, this season we come in a stage later so we only need three wins to get to a semi-final, we have to try and do that again."

Birmingham are themselves League Cup winners, with their most recent success coming courtesy of their victory over Arsenal in the 2011 final.

They were relegated to the Championship at the end of the same season, and have not enjoyed the best of start's under Lee Clark this term.

But they beat Sheffield Wednesday 4-1 at the weekend, thanks to four goals from Jesse Lingard, who is unavailable for this fixture due to the terms of his loan from Manchester United.

And Laudrup believes they could be dangerous opponents.

"They are a strong Championship side and I think they will think as we do in this competition," he said.

"They reached the final and won this competition, they know it is possible and they will want to beat us to go there again.

"They know how nice it is to play at Wembley in front of 80,000 people and lift the trophy."

The Dane also revealed Swansea have received a number of enquiries from Championship clubs for striker Leroy Lita, who has been linked with Sheffield Wednesday, where he had a loan spell last term.

Laudrup said: "Leroy had some offers which is normal because in the Championship he has shown he has quality, he can score goals there because he has done it before and could do it again.

"I think he is right now waiting for the right thing because he has had offers from different Championship clubs already. I don't know whether it will happen because it depends on what he wants but I am hoping so because the player needs to play.

"He has been quite some months without competitive games so I hope for him he can get a move soon because he needs to get on with his career."

Birmingham's four-goal hero Jesse Lingard and defender Kyle Bartley are both unavailable.

Lingard has been denied permission to play by parent club Manchester United, who do not want the forward cup-tied, while centre-back Bartley is on loan from the Swans and not able to face his parent club.

Goalkeeper Colin Doyle will return between the sticks to replace Darren Randolph having started in the previous two rounds.

David Murphy will be rested having only returned in Saturday's 4-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday after a lengthy absence due to a knee injury, while Nikola Zigic, Akwasi Asante, Lee Novak and Hayden Mullins miss out due to minor injuries.

Source: PA

Source: PA