Swansea captain dreams of glory

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Swansea skipper Garry Monk is dreaming of walking Wembley's famous steps on Monday and lifting the trophy which will signal the club's promotion to the Barclays Premier League.

Monk will lead his side out against Reading in the npower Championship final with just 90 minutes separating both he and City from completing a meteoric climb up the football ladder.

Troubled Swans only narrowly avoided relegation from the Football League in 2003 but have risen both on and off the field to where they stand now - and Monk has pretty much seen it all. "Promotion would be massive," said Monk. "The biggest thing in my career without a doubt."


Having left Southampton in 2004, the centre-back arrived at Swansea via a brief spell with Barnsley and has played his part in the club's promotions of 2005 and 2008. He now hopes to complete the three-year cycle.

He added: "I was at Southampton when I was a bit younger, made a few appearances in the Premier League with them and it just gave you a little taste of what it's to be.

"I didn't manage to sustain it there and came here, basically we started off at the bottom again. To get back to the very top would be a personal goal of mine, I've always had that. Now I'm 32 it's probably one of my last chances to try and get back there and have a good go at it."

For Swansea to be victorious, Monk and central defensive partner Ashley Williams will have to shackle Reading hotshot Shane Long. The Republic of Ireland international bagged his 24th and 25th goals of the season as the Royals shot down Cardiff 3-0 in the semi-finals.

As an 18-year-old Long in 2005 joined the Berkshire club from Cork for just £10,000, but he struggled to shine during Brendan Rodgers' unsuccessful six-month spell in charge in 2009, something which is certainly not the case now under Brian McDermott. Rodgers is now manager of Sunday's opponents Swansea and Long is keen to prove his worth.

"I was out of favour under Brendan," said Long. "He preferred other strikers to me. I don't know why he didn't like me, so it would be nice to show him there's a bit more about me than he thought.

"When it came to matchdays, it just didn't click or work out. Then Brian came in and saw something in me Brendan didn't. He has given me a chance and I'd like to think I can repay him."

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Garry Monk
Swansea City

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