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Feb 21, 2013

Laudrup taking Bradford seriously

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup insists his side will not underestimate Bradford when the two teams meet in Sunday's Capital One Cup final.

• Laudrup: Final nothing new

The Swans will take on a side 69 places below them when they play the first ever major cup final in their history at the weekend.

Laudrup, however, is adamant his players will treat the League Two outfit the same as they would any other Premier League club, following the Bantams' wins against Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa en route to the final.

"Everyone knows that cup finals are unpredictable," he told the club's official website. "But we have to accept that we are the favourites. It is fantastic what Bradford have done to get to the final, and we accept that we are the ones who will have to take the initiative in the game and force the issue.

"But my players won't underestimate Bradford. They have been very, very good from set pieces during the competition and they will probably want to play on the counter attack.

"We have prepared like any other week. We have trained as usual, we'll travel to London on Saturday, have some dinner and sleep. Then it will be Sunday and we play the game."

Meanwhile, Bradford defender Rory McArdle is confident of winning his fitness battle ahead of the Swansea clash.

The Northern Ireland international returned to training on Wednesday for the first time since damaging his ankle at Fleetwood 18 days ago. Manager Phil Parkinson says the club will continue to monitor the player carefully before making a final decision, but McArdle is feeling increasingly hopeful of making an appearance at Wembley.

"I joined in for the first time with the lads and it was a great feeling. I had no reaction and the session went really well," he told the Bradford Telegraph & Argus. "I'd been doing a bit of running on Thursday last week, just in straight lines at first. Then I worked with the physios on Saturday and Sunday with a bit more twisting.

"Everything was built towards yesterday and being able to join in. It felt like a long time since I'd been training but the lads have been brilliant in helping me. They have really encouraged me, asking how things were going and so on and telling me 'you'll get there'."

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