Cardiff City success will see crowds return - Russell Slade

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Wales Sport
Cardiff City
The reduced attendance at Cardiff City's home matches this season was evident at the last match against Hull City

Russell Slade believes dwindling crowds will improve if Cardiff can sustain their strong start to the season.

Although the Bluebirds are sixth in the Championship, their last two crowds of 13,763 and 13,715 are their lowest in the league since moving to Cardiff City Stadium in 2009.

The manager, however, is confident supporters will return if his team mount a promotion challenge.

"Fans want to see a winning team," Slade said.

"We've made a decent start, we need to build on that start and keep progressing.

"Of course you want more and more numbers to come and watch your team and I'm sure in time, if we continue to progress, they will be there."

Cardiff attracted an average crowd of 21,123 last season, while the figure was 27,429 when they were in the Premier League in the 2013-14 campaign.

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Cardiff City Stadium was expanded to a capacity of 33,280 in 2014 but, as attendances dropped towards the end of last season, the Bluebirds decided to close the expanded section for this campaign, reducing the capacity to 27,978.

Although Cardiff returned to their traditional blue kit in January, some fans have boycotted the club following the controversial red rebrand in 2012.

"There are certain factors I can't control. My thought has been on picking the side," said Slade.

"I think we're playing a decent brand of football. I'm sure they'll come back if we can maintain it."

Fringe players' frustrations

Cardiff visit the Championship's bottom club Rotherham on Saturday, with the Bluebirds aiming to recover from a first defeat of the season against Hull on Tuesday.

Slade selected the same team for a fourth successive game against the Tigers and admits players currently out of the first team are frustrated.

One in particular is midfielder Aron Gunnarsson, who made 45 league appearances last season but has not started a Championship match in this campaign.

Gunnarsson is the captain of Iceland and, with his country having qualified for Euro 2016, Slade is mindful of the 26-year-old's desire to force his way back into the team in time for next summer's tournament.

"The relationship I have with all the players is that my room is open, and I think that's a good thing because they know they can knock on my door," said the former Leyton Orient manager.

"Gunnar's been in and we've had a chat, but many others have been in and we've had a chat. I think that's healthy.

"In any successful team, it's down to that group rather than the XI. It's important they're part of it and, of course, they will play their part."