Hudson: Promotion to the Premier League is the best moment of my career

Cardiff captain Mark Hudson celebrates promotion to the Premier League. Photo: PA

Cardiff captain Mark Hudson hailed last night's promotion to the Premier League as the highlight of his career.

Exactly 51 years to the day since their last promotion from the second tier, a goalless home draw against Charlton saw the Bluebirds return to the top flight having led the npower Championship since November.

Hudson had been a key component of the team until ankle surgery brought his campaign to a premature end. But the skipper continued to have his say in the changing room before every game and, despite not pulling on a red shirt against his former club, Hudson hopes he played a part.

"This is the best moment of my career," Hudson said. "I'd have loved to have been out there in a shirt but it didn't quite happen for me but that is football.

"But I have been there in the dressing room right up until kick off of every game. I still spoke in the dressing room and I stay in there until the team go out and I try to add my bit if I can.

"It is the best dressing room I have been involved in, every player has worked their socks off this year, whether they've been involved or not."

After falling short at the play-off semi-final stage to eventual winners Reading last season, Cardiff manager Malky Mackay made a concerted effort to give his squad more depth.

The likes of Fraizer Campbell, Peter Whittingham, Nicky Maynard, Matthew Connolly and Heidar Helguson, as well as Hudson, were all missing from the starting line-up that earned a point last night.

And Hudson pinpointed that squad depth as a crucial element in the class of 2013's elevation to the top table of English football.

"The depth of the squad has helped us this year - that is what you need in this league," he said.

"It is a gruelling season in the Championship and it gets harder every year. Anyone can beat anyone and people have said you'll need the highest points ever to stay in the league this season - it is so tough.

"We didn't quite have the depth last year but we added in the summer and again in January which helped us."

Cardiff fans have spent the last two years watching arch-rivals Swansea thrive in the top flight, cementing their place as an established Premier League outfit before qualifying for Europe through winning the Capital One Cup.

And when the top-flight fixture list is released in June, it will be the dates of the south Wales derbies that the supporters will look for first, despite some of the more illustrious opponents that lie in wait.

"It is going to be a big test for us next year and I'm sure the fans will look forward to it," Hudson said. "The derby is going to be a good one, isn't it?

"I have nothing but admiration for them because they have done so well in the last two years, winning a cup and maintained their levels of performance under Brendan Rodgers and now Michael Laudrup."