SCOUT'S REPORT: MIDDLESBROUGH
LIVE COMMENTARY OF SATURDAY'S GAME ON CARDIFF CITY PLAYER FROM 2.45PM.
Cardiff City have gone nine games unbeaten away from home, and will no doubt be looking to make it ten against this weekend's opponents, Middlesbrough.
Malky Mackay’s men will be making the long trip up North on the back of an impressive 2-1 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Middlesbrough on the other hand, will be looking to get back to winning ways following a 2-0 loss to European Champions Chelsea in the FA Cup on Wednesday night.
Boro’s league form has been poor of late too, with only one win in their last eight outings. They are rock bottom of the form tables, whilst also conceding an average of two goals a game.
But it is not all doom and gloom for the Smoggies. Despite their adverse form, they still remain just one point off the Play-Off places and have the fifth best home record in the league. The one thing that could work against them in their promotion push is their goal difference. They have the worst goal difference in the top eight with zero.
Key Players: Middlesbrough have a new addition to their squad for Saturday’s game, having completed the loan signing of Sammy Ameobi from Newcastle United. The six foot four, twenty year old has appeared nineteen times for his parent club and could really make an impact in the Championship.
Boro’ have already got two strikers on double figures amongst their ranks - Scott McDonald and Lukas Jutkiewicz have eleven and ten goals respectively. Jutkiewicz could miss through injury so there may be a spot for Ismael Miller in the starting eleven. Either way the Cardiff backline will be kept on their toes.
Influential midfielder Josh McEachran will more than likely return to the line-up after having to sit out the FA Cup tie against his parent club. He may be accompanied by former premier league star Kieron Dyer in a midfield that is not short of quality.
In terms of the defence, the back four that will start is anyone’s guess. Due to injuries there are many players who will be assessed right up to kick off. Jonathan Woodgate, Andre Bikey and George Friend are all doubts. Also Justin Hoyte is definitely out, sidelined due to a hip injury and Stuart Parnaby is out with a hamstring problem. Captain Rhys Williams and Scottish international Stephen McManus are likely to feature.
Previous Meetings: Cardiff City have far the superior record when you look at the head-to-head statistics. There have been fifty-six games between the two teams, and the Welsh side have won half of them with twenty-eight wins. Boro have won seventeen times with eleven games ending all square.
City have also won five of the last ten encounters including that famous 2-0 away victory in the quarter finals of the FA Cup in 2008. Out of the last seven games, on six occasions one team has failed to score.
Last Meeting: Cardiff City 1 – 0 Middlesbrough (17/10/2012)
Cardiff City recorded their ninth successive home win with a 1-0 victory at Cardiff City Stadium back in October. A nineteenth minute header from Matthew Connolly was enough to see Malky’s men gain all three points. Early injuries to Andrew Taylor and Ben Turner saw Joe Ralls and Ben Nugent being thrown into the deep end as defensive cover, but despite being put under great pressure, City held on for a win that saw them leapfrog Middlesbrough in the table.
Cardiff City Line-up: Marshall, Taylor (Ralls), Connolly, Hudson, Turner (Nugent), Whittingham, Kim, Noone, Gunnarsson (Bellamy), Mason, Helguson. Subs Not Used: Lewis, Conway, Frei, Gestede.
Middlesbrough Line-up: Steele, Hoyte, Bikey, Friend (Bailey), Hines, Leadbitter, McEachran, Ledesma, Haroun (Smallwood), Jutkiewicz (Emnes), McDonald. Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, Thomson, Williams, Miller.
LIVE COMMENTARY OF SATURDAY'S GAME WITH RICHARD SHEPHERD & MARK DENHAM ON CARDIFF CITY PLAYER FROM 2.45PM.