An overview of Russell Slade's Bluebirds
Home ground: Cardiff City Stadium
Manager: Russell Slade
2014/15 league position: 11th
2014/15 top goalscorer: Kenwyne Jones (13 in all competitions)
Relegated from the Premier League back in May 2014 after just a solitary season in the top flight, Cardiff City’s first year back in the second tier was solid if not spectacular.
Finishing a respectable 11th in the Sky Bet Championship league standings, the Bluebirds’ campaign initially saw a change of manager early on following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s departure.
Following an interim period which saw Danny Gabbidon and Scott Young take temporary charge of first team proceedings, Russell Slade was installed at the helm in October and went on to steady the ship in South Wales.
Despite suffering six defeats in eight games from mid-December to late January, Cardiff pushed on throughout the remainder of the campaign, suffering just four defeats from the start of February including a 3-0 reverse at the hands of Wanderers on Easter Monday.
The Bluebirds were even able to allow leading goalscorer Kenwyne Jones to join Bournemouth on loan in late March, with the Trinidad and Tobago international having notched 13 times in all competitions.
Cardiff’s link with the Whites also continued last season, with both Joe Mason and Kevin McNaughton returning temporary spells while Adam Le Fondre – a man who finished the campaign as top scorer at Macron Stadium – also enjoyed a spell at BL6.
For the South Wales outfit however, the summer has seen much change at the Cardiff City Stadium with the aforementioned McNaughton being released alongside Gabbidon, Nicky Maynard and others.
Highly rated midfielder Aron Gunnarsson however has agreed a two year contract extension with the club, while Slade has moved to strengthen his defensive options with the acquisition of 21-year-old Semi Ajayi from Arsenal.
Having firmly adapted to life back in the Championship, the Cardiff faithful will be hoping that their side can start as they mean to go on come their opening fixture against Fulham on August 8.
Terry Phillips, Cardiff City reporter for Media Wales and a man who has covered the Bluebirds for 21 seasons, offers his thoughts on the campaign ahead.
“Russell Slade needs a winning start to earn the trust and backing over many Cardiff City fans.
“The former Orient, Brighton and Sheffield United manager is an experienced, honest manager, but hasn’t been able to win the hearts and minds of many supporters since his appointment last October.
“Slade management career takes in well over 700 first team matches, but Cardiff fans still want to see evidence that Slade is the right man to mastermind a Cardiff promotion challenge.
“The Bluebirds manager has the nucleus of a squad capable of challenging for a top six finish, but needs two or three quality players in midfield.
“Cardiff are tracking wingers with pace and delivery plus a central midfield player who can dominate and inspire.
“Stephen Quinn was a player Slade was keen on, but he turned down a new contract offer by Hull, said no to Cardiff’s offer and yes to Reading.
“So far, though, Arsenal’s 21-year-old out-of-contract defender Semi Ajayi is the only addition and City want to see evidence that City is ready to press on and compete with the leading Championship clubs.
“There is no question Slade is working hard to add the right players to his group - and he also needs to trim six, seven or more from what is a big squad.
“Over the last seven months Slade has carved £12m off the club’s wage bill and steered Cardiff to a solid mid-table position. Now it’s time to kick on - and Bluebirds fans must still be convinced.”
FIXTURES V BOLTON IN 2015/16
Saturday 5 December 2015 – 3pm kick-off at Macron Stadium
Saturday 23 April 2016 – 3pm kick-off at the Cardiff City Stadium
RESULTS V BOLTON IN 2014/15
Bolton Wanderers 3-0 Cardiff City – 4/11/2014 - (CLICK HERE for highlights)
Cardiff City 0-3 Bolton Wanderers – 6/4/2015 - (CLICK HERE for highlights)