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OPPOSITION VIEW: CARDIFF CITY

10 September 2014

Essential reading on this weekend's opponents

CARDIFF CITY

Nickname: The Bluebirds
Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
2013/14: 20th (Premier League)
Ground: Cardiff City Stadium
Fastest road route from Carrow Road: 265 miles (4 hours 34 minutes)

THE LOWDOWN
The £5m deadline-day recruit of Bruno Ecuele Manga capped a busy transfer window for Cardiff City as they start the rebuild following relegation from the Premier League.

Manga was one of ten new players signed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over the summer, with nine heading in the opposite direction and a further six going out on loan.

Despite the upheaval they have made a promising start to life back in the Sky Bet Championship, like the Canaries losing just once up to now, and like City that defeat coming by a single goal away to Wolverhampton Wanderers.


Respectable draws at Blackburn Rovers and Fulham have backed up home victories over Huddersfield Town and Wigan Athletic, positioning the Bluebirds in ninth place in the table.

Vincent Tan’s rule of the club has generated plenty of success and headlines in recent seasons; a convincing Championship title-winning campaign in 2013 was followed up by a brave battle in the top flight last year but ultimate demotion.

On the honours board, Cardiff City have won the FA Cup (1927), three years after completing their best finish of runners-up in the First Division. More recently, they were beaten by Liverpool in the 2012 League Cup Final.

Their current squad contains three former Norwich players: David Marshall (2007-09), Tom Adeyemi (2008-13) and Anthony Pilkington (2011-14).


THE BOSS
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finally returned to English football in January this year, taking over from Malky Mackay at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The former Manchester United striker’s name had been linked with numerous vacant managerial posts after a successful three-year stint with Molde FK in his native Norway.

The job that brought him to back to these shores was the one to keep the Bluebirds in the Premier League, but despite them eventually finishing bottom in May he continues his union with the Welsh club for the 2014-15 campaign.

“These last few months have been extremely valuable in that I believe I am a far more mature manager as a result of the experience,” he told Wales Online.


Solskjaer made his name as an opportunistic forward for United during 11 years at Old Trafford, in which time he scored 128 goals in all competitions and earned himself the nickname the ‘baby-faced assassin’.

He stayed in Manchester when a knee injury forced his retirement in 2007, becoming manager of the club’s reserve team in 2008.

His move to Molde came on a four-deal in 2011, and he led them to the title in his first season in charge and then completed the defence of it a year later. Further success came with triumph in the Norwegian Cup in 2013 before his switch the Cardiff.

THE SQUAD
Goalkeepers: David Marshall, Simon Moore.

Defenders: John Brayford, Fabio, Juan Cala, Bruno Ecuele Manga, Ben Turner, Declan John, Matthew Connolly, Sean Morrison, Danny Gabbidon.

Midfielders: Peter Whittingham, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Craig Noone, Kim Bo-Kyung, Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Aron Gunnarsson, Tom Adeyemi, Anthony Pilkington, Mats Moller Daehli, Joe Ralls, Guido Burgstaller.

Forwards: Kenwyne Jones, Adam le Fondre, Federico Macheda, Javi Guerra, Nicky Maynard, Etien Velikonja.

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