November 17 2012, 15:00
Saturday 17 November
Cardiff City v Middlesbrough
THIS is the 51st league meeting between the two sides, with Cardiff having the better of the previous 50 with 24 wins compared to Boro's 16, leaving 10 draws.
It's third against second at the Cardiff City Stadium, a ground at which Boro have picked up maximum points in their only two visits.
Injuries and suspensions
Josh McEachran picked up an ankle injury when playing for England U21s on Tuesday. An assessment will be made after the final training session before the match.
Jonathan Woodgate has a calf strain and will be assessed for this game. Kevin Thomson picked up a calf strain last month and will also be assessed.
Muzzy Carayol was expected to be missing for three-to-four months after a knee operation on October 1.
Curtis Main underwent a knee operation on September 17 to repair ruptured lateral knee ligaments and was expected to be out for three-to-four months.
Rhys Williams underwent surgery in London on September 10 after sustaining ankle ligament damage in the Capital One Cup win over Gillingham. He was expected to miss three-to-four months.
Cardiff Defender Matt Connolly has missed the last couple of games with a tight thigh but is expected to return. Fellow defender Kevin McNaughton is doubtful with a thigh strain. Midfielder
Jordon Mutch has been missing for two months with a foot injury and while he is getting closer, he isn't expected to feature in this one.
Midfielder Don Cowie is making progress from a knee injury but is expected to miss the game, as is another midfielder, Tommy Smith, who has been missing with a hamstring problem.
Craig Bellamy is considered fit to return to the squad after missing the last four games since limping out at half-time against Watford in the final week of November. He's likely to be named among the substitutes.
Cardiff City are serial promotion flirters, having finished in the play-offs in each of the last three seasons and one place outside back in 2007/08.
Malky Mackay took charge at the Cardiff City Stadium at the start of last season, following the dismissal of Dave Jones as manager.
There was a somewhat controversial overhaul of the traditional blue of Cardiff's shirts during the summer, after the Welsh club's recently acquired new Malaysian owners opted for a change.
Cardiff now sport red home shirts and blue away strips, as well as a new Dragon club crest - a move that was described as part of "a major and significant investment" by the new owners.
The Bluebirds currently sit third in the Championship, one point and one place behind Boro in second.
Last six meetings at The Cardiff City Stadium (August 2009 to date) and Ninian Park
*Click on scores in red to read the match report
2011/12 - Championship
17-12-2011:Cardiff 2-3 Boro
2010/11 - Championship
02-05-2011: Cardiff 0-3 Boro
2009/10 - Championship
06-03-2010: Cardiff 1-0 Boro
1993/94 - FA Cup third round
08-01-1994: Cardiff 2-2 Boro
1984/85 - Division Two
02-02-1985: Cardiff 2-1 Boro
1983/84 - Division Two
03-03-1984: Cardiff 2-1 Boro
1973/74 - Division Two
13-04-1974: Cardiff 0-1 Boro
10 years ago - Boro lose 1-0 at Chelsea, as Celestine Babayaro scores his first goal in three years.
15 years ago - Mikkel Beck, Paul Merson and Anthony Ormerod all score for the second game running in a 3-1 win at Norwich. Three days later Craig Hignett hits an extra-time winner against Bolton to take Boro into the League Cup quarter-finals for the second year running.
25 years ago - Stuart Ripley scores the only goal against Hull at Ayresome Park to make it eight games unbeaten and keep Boro second in Division Two.
30 years ago - Paul Ward keeps the red card run going in a goalless draw at Leeds.
40 years ago - John Hickton scores against his old club yet again but Boro lose 2-1 at Sheffield Wednesday.
50 years ago - Emerson's debut - goalkeeper Morris Emerson, that is - in a 1-0 defeat at Burnley.
60 years ago - A Geoff Walker penalty is enough to give Boro the points against Derby at Ayresome Park.
65 years ago - Walker is among the scorers again, with Cec McCormack (2), Micky Fenton and Johnny Spuhler, in a 5-0 win at Grimsby.
75 years ago - More unusual Division One opponents, Brentford, as Boro come from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 at Griffin Park.
80 years ago - Fred Gibson makes his debut in goal in a 2-0 home defeat by Everton.
85 years ago - Boro are still struggling after promotion, in 17th place, despite a late Billy Pease goal in a 1-1 draw at Liverpool.
90 years ago - Georges Carr and Elliott score in a 2-1 win at Preston.
105 years ago - a 2-0 defeat at Notts County makes it six games without a win and only two goals, as Boro plunge from fourth to fourth-bottom.
Boro have won seven of the last eight in all competitions and have lost just once in the last 12. In those 12 games, Tony Mowbray's men have notched 23 goals.
Boro's 0-0 draw at Nottingham Forest was just the second time in 20 games this season in which they've failed to score. The only other was the Championship opening day 1-0 defeat at Barnsley.
That goalless draw at the City Ground was just the third clean sheet away from home in 2012 and the seventh in 34 games.
On the road, Boro are unbeaten in the last seven, having won six and drawn the one game at Forest.
Following comebacks against Bolton and Charlton Athletic in the last few weeks, Boro have now taken 13 points after going behind, the best record of all 92 league clubs.
On five occasions so far this season Boro have led at half-time. In all five, they have gone on to win - the best record in the Championship.
Cardiff's 2-1 win over Hull City on Saturday was their first win in three, having lost successive away games against Bolton 2-1 and Charlton 5-4.
Mackay's side have won three and lost three of their last six games.
Cardiff have the best home record of all four divisions, with eight wins from eight games, conceding just five along the way. The Bluebirds are also the Championship's top scorers with 33.
They are unbeaten at home since March and have scored in their last 11 games there. But they did lose a play-off first leg 0-2 at home to West Ham in May.
Contrastingly, away from home Cardiff have taken fewer points and scored fewer goals than Ipswich, who are currently third bottom. Boro have the second-best away record in the Championship; only leaders Palace can better it.
Cardiff's games this season have seen goals galore. There have been 59 goals in their 17 games so far this season. Their last six games have seen 24 goals.
Boro have won three of the last four against Cardiff, but lost the most recent meeting back on April 7 at the Riverside.
The first of those four games was a 1-0 home win over the Bluebirds, which ended six-game sequence without a win against Cardiff, a run that included five defeats.
A Boro victory this time will equal their number of wins at Cardiff's old ground, Ninian Park. They won just three times there and kept one clean sheet in 75 years of league and cup games.
Marvin Emnes has played at the Cardiff City Stadium twice and won twice, without conceding a goal. The Dutchman scored the only goal of the game for Swansea while on loan there two seasons ago, as well as Boro's 3-0 victory in May 2011, but missed last season's 3-2 win.
Last time out
April 7 2012, Championship
Middlesbrough 0, Cardiff City 2 (Turner 11, Mason 18)
Boro hit the woodwork three times in the second half but Cardiff City jumped above them and into a play-off position.
Middlesbrough: Steele; Hoyte, McManus, Hines, Bennett, Robson (Capt), Bailey (Ogbeche 84), Thomson (Emnes 62), Hamill (Martin 68), McDonald, Jutkiewicz. Subs: McMahon, Smallwood.
Cardiff City: Marshall; Blake, Taylor, Hudson (Capt), Turner, Whittingham, Lawrence, Gunnarsson, McPhail (Gestede 54 (McNaughton 86)), Miller (Mason 5), Cowie. Subs Heaton (gk); Earnshaw.
Referee: Kevin Friend, Leicestershire.
Middlesbrough: Bennett, 85, dissent.
Cardiff City: McPhail, 26, foul; Whittingham, 70, kicking the ball away; Taylor, 73, foul.
Attendance: 17,564 (453 Cardiff)
Conditions: Sunny, but cool in the shade and a light breeze.
Possession: Middlesbrough 54% Cardiff City 46%
Referee: Oliver Langford, West Midlands.
Mr Langford takes charge of his 16th game of the season, his fourth at Championship level. In his 15 games to date, he has issued 22 yellow cards and two red.
In 40 games last season, the West Midlands official issued a total of 103 yellow cards and 10 red.
This game will be the first time Mr Langford has taken charge of Boro. The last time he was in the middle of a Cardiff City game was the 0-0 draw at Doncaster Rovers on January 14 last season.
All three of his games in the Championship this season have ended in away wins.
A wet start to the day will turn into a mild, dry afternoon with the temperature expected to be around nine degrees backed by a 9mph west-north-westerly breeze.
Tickets and Travel
Boro+ Tony Mowbray looks ahead to the game
Boro+ Josh McEachran is enjoying his time on Teesside
Boro+ Seb Hines - A good effort, so far