Match Preview | Middlesbrough vs. Cardiff City
OPPOSITION FOCUS | IN THE DUGOUT
Middlesbrough’s head coach is the experienced Chris Wilder, who was appointed by the club in November 2021, following the departure of former City manager, Neil Warnock.
Wilder was established in the EFL during his playing career, representing the likes of Sheffield United, Rotherham United, Bradford City, along with Brighton and Hove Albion.
Having won silverware in his early days in management at Alfreton Town and Halifax Town, Wilder’s breakthrough was during his time at Oxford United and Northampton Town, winning the National League play-offs with the former and bring crowned EFL League Two champions with the latter.
Making the switch to Sheffield United, Wilder’s five years at Bramall Lane were quite remarkable, taking the club from EFL League One to a ninth-place finish in their first season back in the top-flight.
Despite the huge success of the previous season, Wilder left the Blades in March 2021, but returned management just seven months later with Boro.
OPPOSITION FOCUS | SEASON SO FAR
Wilder’s men currently sit 17th in the Championship table, having had a tricky start to the campaign, beginning with a 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion.
Having been without a win in their opening five games, being held to draws by the likes of Sheffield United and Stoke City, as well as defeats to Queens Park Rangers and Reading, Boro’s first win of the season came against Swansea City.
However, as they looked to build on their opening victory, a difficult trip to face Watford followed, as Wilder’s side fell to a 2-1 defeat.
In their most recent fixture against newly-promoted Sunderland, Boro batted to an important three points, as Riley McGree’s goal proved to be the difference between the two sides.
OPPOSITION FOCUS | KEY PLAYERS
Boro midfielder Matt Crooks has made a great start to the campaign, continuing to impress since joining from Rotherham United in 2021. The 28-year-old has netted on two occasions, whilst also contributing with two assists so far this season.
Over the summer, Wilder secured the services of wing-back Ryan Giles on a season-long loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers. The former Bluebird showed his ability to deliver into the box whilst in the Welsh capital, whilst also impressing at Blackburn Rovers during the second half of last season.
The club utilised the loan market well in the summer transfer window, also bringing in Brazilian striker Rodrigo Muniz from Fulham. The former Flamengo attacker has made a positive start to life at the Riverside Stadium, finding the net in their clash with Watford.
CLUB FLASHBACK | CITY BOOK FA CUP SEMI-FINAL SPOT
One of the most memorable fixtures against Middlesbrough is undoubtedly the FA Cup quarter-final tie in the 2007/08 season.
Having defeated Chasetown, Hereford United and Wolverhampton Wanderers in earlier rounds, City faced a strong Middlesbrough side, who finished 13th in the Premier League at the end of the season.
In front of 32,896 fans, including a strong following from the Bluebirds, City stepped up admirably to claim a famous victory.
Peter Whittingham curled into the net with just nine minutes on the clock, before Roger Johnson headed home to double the advantage.
The Bluebirds would go on to seal their place in the FA Cup final with a 1-0 victory over Barnsley in the semi-final.