Match Preview | Cardiff City vs. Middlesbrough
OPPOSITION FOCUS | IN THE DUGOUT
Middlesbrough’s manager is former Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick, who was appointed in October 2022.
During his playing career, Carrick came through the ranks at West Ham United, before representing Tottenham Hotspur.
It was his time at Spurs that saw him catch the eye of United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who brought him to Old Trafford for a reported fee of £14 million.
Carrick went on to make a remarkable 464 appearances for the club, winning the Premier League on five occasions, as well as claiming the Champions League in 2008.
Since retiring from playing, Carrick was part of the coaching staff at Manchester United, prior to his move to Middlesbrough.
OPPOSITION FOCUS | KEY PLAYER
Boro’s most dangerous player this term is striker Chuba Akpom, who is currently the top scorer in the Championship with an impressive 16 goals.
The attacker averages a goal every 111 minutes with a shot accuracy of 65%, with his most recent goals coming in the form of a brace against Blackpool last time out.
Akpom started out his career at Arsenal, before moving to Greek outfit PAOK in 2018 following six loan spells during his time with the Gunners.
After winning Super League Greece and the Greek Cup, the striker signed for Middlesbrough for a reported fee of £2.75 million.
Despite returning to Greece for a loan spell last season, Akpom has largely impressed during his time at the Riverside Stadium and has had his most prolific campaign to date this season.
OPPOSITION FOCUS | CITY’S RECORD
The Bluebirds have gone head-to-head with Middlesbrough on 70 occasions since the first meeting between the two sides in September 1921.
City recorded a 3-1 victory that day, with prolific striker Jimmy Gill netting a brace, along with a goal from Harry Nash.
Since then, the Bluebirds have defeated Middlesbrough 33 times, with Boro claiming victory in 23 meetings.
In the previous clash between the two sides back in September, City recorded a fantastic 3-2 victory at the Riverside Stadium.
The Bluebirds raced to a 3-0 lead through Callum O’Dowda, Mark Harris and Perry Ng in a fine first-half performance. Despite the hosts fighting back in the second period, City’s defence stood strong in the final proceedings to claim the victory.
CLUB CONNECTION | RYAN GILES
This weekend could see the Bluebirds face up against former loanee Ryan Giles. The wing-back spent the first half of last season on loan in the Welsh capital, making 21 league appearances.
After spending the second half of the campaign at Blackburn Rovers, Giles joined Middlesbrough on loan in June 2022.
Since then, the wing-back has contributed with seven assists, as well as creating 52 chances, with a pass accuracy of 80%.