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Not many expected Mick McCarthy to still be in charge for Cardiff’s trip to Fulham following their humiliating 3-0 loss at the hands of rivals Swansea City three days prior.
Indeed, even City CEO Ken Choo hinted ahead of the game that McCarthy appeared to be on his way out, but the Yorkshireman remains in charge for this visit of Boro.
McCarthy made mass changes for the Fulham match, including a change of formation, and the Bluebirds performed well for 45 minutes against promotion-chasing Fulham.
Knowing that something had to give following the loss to Swansea, McCarthy reverted to a back four against Fulham and dropped skipper Sean Morrison to the bench.Perry Ng and Joel Bagan were brought in from the cold, while Rubin Colwill was also handed a first start since August just off striker Kieffer Moore, who has struggled this term.
Cardiff may have fallen to a 2-0 loss at Craven Cottage, but McCarthy will take positives from the first half and may name a similar XI here.
As for Middlesbrough, Warnock brought in Isaiah Jones and Lee Peltier for the 2-0 win over Barnsley in midweek and should go with a near-identical lineup on Saturday.
However, Boro have failed to score in four of their last five away league games, so the ex-Cardiff boss may could always spring a surprise and alter formation slightly.
Former Bluebirds favourites Sol Bamba and Peltier, who only missed the Peterborough win because of suspension, seem certain to start at the back.
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Cardiff City possible starting lineup:
Smithies; Ng, Flint, McGuiness, Bagan; Vaulks, Pack; Giles, Bowen, Colwill; Moore
Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Lumley; McNair, Bamba, Peltier; Tavernier, Crooks, Howson, Jones; Payero, Sporar, Watmore
However, goals from Tom Cairney on his return from a long-term injury and Aleksandar Mitrovic – his 13th in 13 games this term – condemned Cardiff to yet another loss.
Rather worryingly, the Welsh side have scored just once across their seven game losing run – and even that was a consolation in a 5-1 thumping at the hands of Blackburn Rovers.