We continue our look at the three promoted clubs that Saints will face in the 2018/19 season, with a profile of Welsh outfit Cardiff City.
Since 2002, the Bluebirds have missed out on promotion via play-offs on four occasions, but this year returned to the top flight for the first time since 2014 via the automatic route.
Cardiff were rank outsiders going into the 2017/18 campaign, having staved off relegation last term, with Neil Warnock completing an astonishing turnaround since he took over as manager only 20 months ago - when Cardiff were second from bottom.
The fans in the Welsh capital were finally able to celebrate on the last day of the season, as Fulham's defeat at Birmingham secured their position in second.
33-1 outsiders to even reach the play-offs before the start of the season, manager Warnock described the success as “the biggest achievement in his 38-year career by an absolute mile”.
An outstanding triumph in its own right then, and even more so when coupled with the fact that, only Burton, who were relegated, Bolton and Millwall had a lower possession rate than Cardiff last season.
This is Warnock’s eighth promotion – a record that sees him eclipse the achievements of Jim Smith, Dave Bassett and the late Graham Taylor.
And, in addition, this is the fourth occasion the 69-year-old has won promotion to the top flight, following previous successes with Notts County, Sheffield United and Queens Park Rangers.
Cardiff finished the season on 90 points, three more than when they were last promoted in 2013 - and that year it was enough to win the Championship outright!
Indeed, Warnock's budget at Cardiff was comparatively less than immediate rivals - Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Fulham - but key to his success was shopping in the lower leagues unearthing gems that were perhaps overlooked by other clubs.
- Former Saints striker Kenwyne Jones also played for Cardiff between 2014-16.
- Rickie Lambert had a brief stint at Cardiff before retirement, under current manager Neil Warnock. The striker scored four goals in 13 league starts.
Saints wins: 19
Cardiff wins: 19
Previous three meetings
Jan 2012: Southampton 1-1 Cardiff (Championship)
Dec 2013: Cardiff 0-3 Southampton (Premier League)
April 2014: Southampton 0-1 Cardiff (Premier League)