Cardiff v Middlesbrough preview

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:39

Cardiff v Middlesbrough preview

Cardiff welcome back Stephen Bywater.
The on-loan Derby goalkeeper missed Easter Monday’s 1-0 win at Preston due to a rib injury, with Tom Heaton stepping in between the sticks as the only change from the starting XI that drew 2-2 with QPR.
Otherwise, manager Dave Jones is merely managing stiffness and soreness from the Deepdale triumph and is expected to have virtually a fully-fit squad at his disposal.
Full-back Lee Naylor has resumed training this week but will find it tough to push himself into Jones’ matchday 18, leaving just goalkeeper David Marshall (elbow) on the sidelines.
Centre-back Mark Hudson and striker Michael Chopra have made speedy recoveries from their respective knee and hamstring injuries and were second-half substitutes against Preston, pressing their claims for starting berths.
The likes of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Adam Matthews, Jason Koumas and Jon Parkin are all competing just to be included in City’s 18 as the club play the penultimate match in their battle for automatic promotion.
Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray will make a series of late selection decisions.
Striker Scott McDonald has an outside chance of shaking off the hamstring injury he picked up at Hull last weekend, although, with Boro now safe, Mowbray will take no risks.
Central defender Stephen McManus (ankle) is also being assessed while Tony McMahon, who also has an ankle problem, is rated 50-50.
Long-term absentees Jonathan Franks and Luke Williams, who have also been sidelined by ankle injuries, have a chance of being involved but full-back Joe Bennett remains a doubt because of the after-effects of a virus.
Keeper Danny Coyne’s season is over after he underwent surgery to repair a hand injury while Seb Hines (broken jaw), Merouane Zemmama (hamstring) and Nicky Bailey (ankle ligaments) are unlikely to figure again before the end of the campaign.

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