Cardiff City vs AFC Wimbledon
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
Date: Tuesday, 11th August 2015, 7:45pm kick-off
The Bluebirds kick-off their Capital One Cup campaign on Tuesday evening as Neal Ardley returns to South Wales with his AFC Wimbledon side.
This is the Bluebirds first encounter with AFC Wimbledon since the rebirth of the phoenix Club in 2002. The Wombles have enjoyed huge success since that date, becoming the first Club founded since the turn of the millennium to be promoted to the Football League, breaking several other records in the process.
The Dons are now competing in League 2 for the fifth consecutive season and have made steady progress in the fourth tier with a mid-table finish last time out. This year, they will be hoping to challenge at the top end of the table, although they were dealt an early blow with a 2-0 opening day defeat at home to Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.
The Bluebirds defence will have to be on guard to keep out Adebayo Akinfenwa, the Dons top scorer and Player of the Season in the last campaign. Meanwhile, they’ve added further fire-power to their side in Lyle Taylor, Andy Barcham and Tom Elliott. At the back, they’ve also strengthened with Karleigh Osborne’s loan move, ex-Millwall man Paul Robinson and former Bluebird Jonathan Meades.
Of course, the Dons have two former Cardiff City players at the helm as manager Neal Ardley and his assistant Neil Cox played alongside each other for the Bluebirds between 2005 and 2006. Ardley stayed on at the Club in a coaching capacity too, becoming Academy Manager for five years whilst gaining his badges and UEFA Pro Coaching qualification. He then joined the Wombles with Cox in 2012, steering them clear of relegation in his first year at Kingsmeadow before overseeing further progress in League 2.
As mentioned, Neal and Neil aren’t the only ex-Bluebirds currently with Wimbledon, as former City player Jonathan Meades signed for the Club this summer, following a loan spell in 2012-13. Meades played for the Academy here in the capital under the stewardship of Ardley before moving on to AFC Bournemouth and Oxford United.
Interestingly, Jermaine Darlington, who played for City at the same time as Cox and Ardley, became the first player to play competitively for both Wimbledon FC and AFC Wimbledon either side of his time in South Wales.
DON'T MISS A MOMENT
LISTEN: Supporters can listen in live to Shep and Ashley James on Cardiff City Player HD* for all the action from City vs the Dons.
WATCH: Extended highlights of the match will be available to subscribers of Cardiff City Player HD* from 12pm the following day.
Live updates from CCS will come via our official Twitter account, @CardiffCityFC
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