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In focus: Cardiff City

18 June 2015

Ahead of the Dons’ inaugural Sky Bet Championship campaign, takes a look at the new sides they will face in 2015/16.

Next up is Cardiff City, a side yet to have played at stadiummk, who will be looking to replicate their 2012/13 campaign in which they were promoted to the Premier League after winning the Championship title.

Head Coach: Russell Slade
Key and notable players: Fabio, Peter Whittingham, Kenwyne Jones, Craig Noone, Federico Macheda
Former Dons: Matty Kennedy
Stadium: Cardiff City Stadium (33,280 capacity)
Nickname: The Bluebirds
Kit: Blue shirt, blue shorts, blue socks

Cardiff City is just one of three sides based in Wales which compete in England’s top four leagues. Founded as Riverside A.F.C. in 1899, they are the only club outside of England to have won the FA Cup, doing so in 1927.

In 2013, the Bluebirds were promoted to the Premier League for the first time in 51 years after winning the Championship title, however, they spent just one season in the top flight of English football.

Before their promotion year, Cardiff City had made it to two national cup finals, firstly the FA Cup final in 2008 where they were defeated by Harry Redknapp's Portsmouth, and again in 2012 when they narrowly lost on penalties to Liverpool in the League Cup final.

Cardiff, following relegation from the Premier League, finished 11th place in their first season back in the Championship.

After three defeats in the first seven matches for Cardiff City, manager Ole Gunner Solskjaer stepped down from his post and former Leyton Orient manager Russell Slade took up the role of first-team coach, who immediately looked to rebuild the squad which were relegated the previous season.

Cardiff managed a total of 16 wins scoring 57 goals in the process, missing out on a play-off place by 16 points. Trinidad and Tobago forward Kenwyne Jones finished as Cardiff’s top goalscorer in the campaign, netting a total of 11 league goals despite spending the second half of last season out on loan at league winners AFC Bournemouth.

Ahead of the 2015/16 season, Cardiff City were bolstered by the news that midfielder Aron Gunnarsson, who has made 168 appearances for the Bluebirds, had committed his long-term future to the club by signing a new contract.

However, defenders Kevin McNaughton and Danny Gabbidon, as well as striker Nicky Maynard, have been let go as a result of their contracts coming to an end.

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