With Brighton & Hove Albion’s opponents for the 2015/16 Championship season now confirmed, the club’s media team will take a look at the Seagulls’ 23 opponents for the next campaign.
The seventh team to feature in our opposition focus series is Cardiff City.
LEAGUE POSITION: 11th
FA CUP: Fourth round
LEAGUE CUP: Third round
TOP GOALSCORER: Federico Macheda (8)
2014/15 SEASON REVIEW
Cardiff City will look back at the 2014/15 campaign as one of disappointment, as the Bluebirds secured a mid-table finish despite being tipped as one of the favourites to gain an immediate return to the Premier League.
The season of instability began when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was dismissed as manager on 18th September, following back-to-back defeats against Middlesbrough and Norwich at the start of the month.
Former Albion boss Russell Slade took the reins on 6th October and got off to a winning start with a 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest.
But as in previous seasons, there were a number of problems off the pitch, as several players left the club midway through the season due to financial constraints.
The likes of Kim Bo-Kyung, Magnus Eikrem and Jo Berget all had their contracts terminated, while Mats Daehli was sold to Freiburg.
City progressed to the FA Cup fourth round with a 3-1 win over League One Colchester United, but the crowd of just 4,194 spectators prompted the club to change their home kit back to blue following large-scale protests from the fans.
On 6th April 2015, Slade experienced his heaviest home defeat as Cardiff manager with a 3-0 loss against Bolton Wanderers, as the Bluebirds ended the season in inconsistent form.
Cardiff finished the season with 62 points and in 11th place, their lowest finish since the 2007–08 season.
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LAST TIME WE MET:
Albion and Cardiff City battled out a goalless draw in an uninspiring contest at the Cardiff City Stadium.
In a tight affair, defences were on top and neither side could capitalise on the limited chances created.
Albion carved out a half-chance just before half-time, but Rohan Ince’s low drive could not find a way through a sea of Cardiff bodies.
After the restart, the Seagulls almost took the lead in fortuitous fashion as Joao Teixeira’s free-kick nearly dropped over David Marshall, but the Cardiff captain tipped the ball over the bar.
Lewis Dunk almost put the Seagulls ahead, nodding Teixeira’s free-kick narrowly wide, while Cardiff’s main threat, Aron Gunnarson, headed off-target after arriving unmarked to meet Peter Whittingham’s corner.
Dale Stephens came on off the bench to make his first appearance in over nine months and almost had an immediate impact, but chipped the ball over the bar in Albion’s last chance of the game.
Cardiff line-up: Marshall (GK); Peltier, Manga, Morrison, Malone; Noone, O’Keefe (Doyle 45), Gunnarsson, Whittingham; McAleny (Harris 68); Jones.
Subs not used: Moore (GK), Fabio, Adeyemi, Connolly, Revell.
Albion line-up: Stockdale; Calderon, Greer, Dunk, Bennett; Ince, Kayal (LuaLua 71); Bruno, Forster-Caskey, Teixeira (Stephens 86); Best (O’Grady 63).
Subs not used: Walton (GK), Hughes, Halford, Mackail-Smith.
Russell Slade took his first job at Notts County in 1993 and became caretaker manager of the Magpies in the 1994-95 season.
The 54-year-old then had spells in charge of non-league sides Armitage and Leicester United, before a spell at Sheffield United.
He became manager of then Conference side Scarborough in 2001, ahead of taking the reins at Grimsby Town and Yeovil Town, before arriving at Withdean to take charge of Brighton & Hove Albion.
He saved the Seagulls from relegation into League Two at the end of the 2008-09 season, but subsequently left the club in November 2009.
A fruitful four years followed at Leyton Orient between 2010 and 2014, culminating with leading the side to the League One Play-Off Final in 2014.
In October that year, he left East London to become Cardiff boss.
Cardiff City’s fans will desperately want to see the team challenging in the upper echelons of the Championship table next season after a disappointing season both on and off the pitch.
Russell Slade sees his side as a work in progress, but Cardiff should see a top-six finish as the minimum requirement next season considering the talent within the squad.
Slade insists he will do everything he can to keep hold of his side’s best players in a bid to mount a promotion challenge next term.
David Marshall is believed to be on Liverpool’s radar, while Peter Whittingham and Joe Mason have reportedly attracted interest as well.
The biggest news of last season though was the club's return to their original blue; a move that appeased all the disgruntled fans who had long campaigned for its return.
See Albion v Cardiff City at the Amex plus 22 other opponents from as low as £20.22 per game by purchasing a season ticket for 2015/16.