Meet the opposition | Cardiff City

22nd October 2022
First team
Niels Nkounkou

As Swansea City get set to host Cardiff City in the first south Wales derby of the season, we take a closer look at the Bluebirds.

What’s their story?

Initially founded as Riverside AFC in 1899, they changed their name to Cardiff City nine years later. In 1920 they joined the Football League.

Across their 123-year history they have spent 17 years in the top tier, mostly during the 1920s and 50s, and their highest position came in the 1923-24 season when they finished as runners-up.

They have spent two seasons in the Premier League but on both occasions suffered an immediate return to the Championship – the most recent of these coming at the end of the 2018-19 season.

They have reached the FA Cup final three times in their history winning the trophy once in 1927; they are the only non-English team to have lifted the trophy.

Cardiff most recently made an appearance in the 2008 final but were beaten by Portsmouth. Four years later, they reached the final of the Football League Cup, but were defeated by Liverpool.

How’s their form?

Cedric Kipre

Inconsistent. Having undergone a considerable squad overhaul during the summer it was to be expected that Cardiff would need a little time for all the new pieces to gel.

Back-to-back wins over Blackburn and Wigan have been followed by defeats to Coventry and Queens Park Rangers.

They opened the season with victory over promotion favourites Norwich and also claimed a creditable draw with fancied Burnley, and they have won two of their last four away fixtures.

Who’s the gaffer?

Mark Hudson

Mark Hudson. The former Bluebirds captain has been in caretaker charge since Steve Morison’s departure from the club last month.

The 40-year-old started his career in the youth ranks with Swindon and Fulham, and went on to make his senior debut for the Cottagers.

Loan spells at Oldham and Crystal Palace followed before he joined the Eagles in 2004, spending four years at Selhurst Park before a season with Charlton.

From the Valley he moved to Cardiff under manager Dave Jones and became a club stalwart. He made 144 league appearances across five years with the Bluebirds, helping them win promotion to the Premier League in 2013, after reaching the League Cup final in 2012.

He would experience promotion again, via the play-offs, with Huddersfield in 2017 before moving in to coaching with the Terriers’ under-23s.

Two caretaker spells at senior level followed before he returned to Cardiff to assist Morison, taking the reins when the former Wales striker left his role.

Who’s the skipper?

Joe Ralls

Joe Ralls. After an ACL injury in early February ruled club captain Sean Morrison out for the remainder of the 2021-22 season, Ralls was handed the armband and he has remained as club captain this term.

The academy graduate had a breakthrough season in 2011-12, scoring a 30-yard half volley after coming off the bench for his league debut against Hull City.

After time on loan to develop, the midfielder returned to become a key figure within the Cardiff side.

He has made more than 300 appearances for them over the past decade and is an industrious, bustling presence in midfield, while possessing quality in the final third.

Who are the key men?

Callum Robinson

Experienced striker Callum Robinson bolstered Cardiff’s forward options when he joined from West Brom in September.

The 27-year-old has had spells at Aston Villa, Preston, Bristol City, Sheffield United and the Baggies across his career.

His breakthrough came during a four-year spell at Preston where he became a regular scorer with 29 goals in league 110 games for the Lilywhites.

After a short spell with Sheffield United he moved to The Hawthorns and was a regular at Championship and Premier League level.

He has two goals in eight games for Cardiff.

In midfield, Ryan Wintle has taken the armband when Joe Ralls has been unavailable or not selected.

The Crewe product made 186 appearances for the Railwaymen before joining Cardiff in the summer of 2021.

He was soon moved out on loan to Blackpool, where he impressed, before returning to south Wales and he has been a regular ever since.

An all-action midfielder, Wintle brings plenty of energy and a combative edge to the middle of the park.

At the back, loan signing Cedric Kipre has made an impression since moving to Cardiff on loan from West Brom.

The Paris St Germain youth product has also had spells with Leicester City, Corby Town, Motherwell, Wigan Athletic and Charleroi.

He was particularly impressive for the Latics, helping them to win promotion to the Championship and nearly helping them defy all the odds by avoiding relegation the following season despite points penalties enforced by financial issues outside the club’s control.

The Ivorian’s brother Steve is also a professional footballer.

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