Recently by Nathan Walker

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It may not be familiar territory for Malky Mackay but it certainly is for Cardiff City as they embark on their third consecutive year of participating in the Championship Play-Offs.

The opponents this time, West Ham United.

The team from East London dubbed the 'Academy of Football' visit the Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday before Malky takes his squad down the M4 for a Bank Holiday Monday showdown at Upton Park.

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It is safe to say that Welsh Sport has seen better weekends, and better officials. Following on from the rugby team's controversial exit in New Zealand, Cardiff City had to settle for a point as they played out a 2-2 draw with Ipswich Town at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Hours after the rugby ended for Wales in Auckland courtesy of an official blunder, the Bluebirds suffered the same fate against the Tractor Boys as City were the hope of many Welshmen to cheer up their sporting weekend.

It looked like ninth placed Cardiff were going to do just that when Rudy Gestede, who started instead of the injured Kenny Miller, slotted the ball home with a neat header. However, two goals either side of the interval put the Suffolk side ahead. The goals came from Cardiff villain Jason Scotland and one time hero Michael Chopra. However Cardiff deservedly got the equaliser when Peter Whittingham struck from the penalty spot.


As I'm writing this its just over 72 hours until Cardiff City kick off their nPower Championship campaign against title contenders West Ham at Upton Park. Its a very strange feeling. Strange that, we have no idea what is going to happen.
For the first time in six years, Dave Jones is not going to be on the touchline.
The line up would have changed a fair bit from last year. No Bellamy, Chopra, Burke or Bothroyd. With Dave Jones at the helm I always thought we would forever be the 'nearly men'.
I just knew that we would have a good overall season only to be let down by the famous collapses in November, March and May.
However I am extremely optimistic about this season and beyond. A top to mid table finish would do me fine this year.
If we got into the Play offs then that would be the ultimate.
But I do think we are a few players away from that being achievable.
Unlike the Jones era, this CCFC squad is certainly one for the future with a bright young manager and bringing exciting young players in like Joe Mason.
Also noticeable is how keen he is to use the Academy graduates like Nat Jarvis, Ibby Farah and 'The Machine' that is Alex Evans - according to Darcy Blake.
Was the sacking of Dave Jones the right decision? I 100 per cent believe it was.
On Sunday, August 14, against Bristol City, I will be walking into Cardiff City Stadium with real optimism on this season and the future seasons.
There will be a positive vibe around the place, an energetic, young and passionate manager, the return of hero Robert Earnshaw and established hitman Kenny Miller alongside him.
No doubt if Jones had remained he would have also brought in quality players and taken us on the charge again but there would always be the gut feeling that we would fall at the last hurdle again.
And with Malky raiding Watford for staff, he has ensured that the gut feeling would never come.
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