With Cardiff and Middlesbrough each locked on nine points from seven games, both sides will be looking to gain any advantage over their opponents ahead of the tie on Saturday afternoon.
Cardiff will be hoping to do this with the reintroduction of number one goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, when they host Jonathan Woodgate’s Middlesbrough at the Cardiff City Stadium this weekend.
Etheridge has been out of action since he picked up a grade three hamstring tear in the defeat to Wigan on the opening day of the season back in August.
But there is good news for both Cardiff fans and manager Neil Warnock, as Etheridge is in line to return to action this weekend according to Wales Online. The ‘keeper will play his first minutes since August this afternoon, as he was named in the Bluebirds’ Under-23s side to face Sheffield Wednesday.
Although the Philippines international is expected to return to the starting eleven at the weekend, it is no guarantee. Alex Smithies has deputised in his absence, impressing in recent weeks between the sticks.
Cardiff are unbeaten in three games having picked up a trio of consecutive draws against Blackburn Rovers, Fulham and most recently Derby County. However, Middlesbrough are unbeaten in four games, picking up two wins and two draws in the process.
Etheridge was given Cardiff’s Player of the Season Award last season after achieving the most votes from his peers. He had ten clean sheets in the Premier League as Warnock’s side were ultimately relegated to the Championship with an 18th placed finish.