After finishing 21st in the Championship last season, just five points above the relegation zone, Cardiff opted against renewing Sabri Lamouchi’s short-term contract as head coach, with the 51-year-old leaving the club after winning just six of his 18 games in charge between the end of January and beginning of May.
Bluebirds owner Vincent Tan has since appointed Erol Bulut as the club’s new boss, with the 48-year-old taking his first job outside of Turkey having previously managed Gaziantep, Fenerbahce, Yeni Malatyaspor and Alanyaspor, leaving the former in January.
Bulut, who gained Champions League experience as a player with both Fenerbahce and Olympiacos, is relishing the “new challenge” in English football and is keen to hit the ground running at Cardiff to avoid the “same problems or pressure” that the club endured in the latter stages of 2022-23.
Cardiff’s clash with Pen-y-Bont is followed three days later by another home fixtures against The New Saints, before they visit Portugal between July 17 and 23 for a period of warm-weather training.
The Bluebirds will then conclude their pre-season preparations with a trip to Wycombe Wanderers before kick-starting the new Championship season away against Leeds United on August 6.
Pen-y-Bont, meanwhile, enjoyed a successful 2022-23 campaign, finishing third in the Cymru Premier and securing a place in the Europa Conference League qualifiers for the first time in their history.
Rhys Griffiths capped his seventh year in charge of Pen-y-Bont by being named the league’s Manager of the Year, and the 43-year-old is now preparing his side for a two-legged clash with Andorran outfit FC Santa Coloma in the ECL first qualifying round in two weeks’ time.
Penybont must first turn their attention to Saturday’s friendly clash with Cardiff and they travel to the Welsh capital in buoyant mood after recording a thumping 6-0 win over Pontardawe Town in a warm-up match on Tuesday.
Cardiff have completed their first week of pre-season training at the Vale Resort ahead of Saturday’s fixture, but it remains to be seen how many of the club’s first-team regulars will be selected against Pen-y-Bont.
The Bluebirds have confirmed that Dillon Phillips, Tom Sang, Gavin Whyte and Connor Wickham will all leave the club when their contracts expire on June 30, while Mark Harris, Joel Bagan and Eli King have all been offered new deals.
Sory Kaba ended the 2022-23 season as Cardiff’s top scorer with eight goals, but the forward has returned to parent club Midtjylland following a shot-term loan deal, so the likes of Callum Robinson, Kion Etete and Max Watters will be in contention to start up front.