One week and one day is the time you’ve been away. One week and one day and we all wish you could stay. Come home. Come home, my love, and come back to my arms. You took pride in your travels but now it’s time to come home. 

(Basically, what I’m trying to say is that Cardiff City are playing Middlesbrough at the CCS this Saturday). 

Cardiff City vs. Middlesbrough
SkyBet Championship
Saturday 21st September, 2019
Referee: Darren Bond

How Cardiff City may lineup…

Three things to watch out for…

Toml-in to the midfield. Love Callum Paterson but he hasn’t really got going this season and if Tomlin has recovered from his whiplash, he surely slots back in? While it’s been good to see Tomlin back in the squad, it still feels like he has more to give. He needs to start delivering assists and goals and against his former side would be the perfect place to do that. 

Winging it. If Tomlin doesn’t play, as Warnock nodded towards in his press conference, and Paterson isn’t matchfit, who else can fill that gap? I wouldn’t mind seeing Hoilett slot in to that 10 position. He’s very good at bringing others into play and was our most effective attacking player in our promotion season. He’s also good defensively and that’s what Warnock likes from his players…

Injured players knocking on the door. Etheridge, Bamba, and Pack are all getting closer to the first team and players like NML, who came off the bench at Derby, are getting back to full fitness. Whyte is raw and naive at this level so one may expect an immediate change there – NML to start in place of him. Could we see Bamba and Etheridge on the bench? Smithies hasn’t done a lot wrong so it could be unfair to unseat him immediately…

‘Boro players to watch out for

Having managed ‘Boro for a few seasons on FM, I feel pretty well versed in their squad. Up front, I have always admired Assombalonga and when we were linked with him earlier this summer, I was pretty excited. But he stayed at Boro. He has consistently put up 15 goals a season at this level and is a scrappy striker who could cause our defence problems. 

They’ve got a number of other players who could cause us trouble. Lewis Wing is a tricky midfielder, Adam Clayton and Paddy McNair will give us a battle and Ashley Fletcher is, seemingly, finding his feet after making the switch from actor to striker. It’s also written in the stars for Rudy Gestede to find the net against us…

Worst case result 

Boro’ are improving under Woodgate and after a shaky-ish start, they are currently four games unbeaten and beat Reading last time out. Who beat us 3-0. So, the theory goes, Boro should beat us 4-0. 

Best case result 

We have improved dramatically since that Reading game and are also four games unbeaten (in the league, anyhow). We should have beaten Derby away and Warnock believes his team are progressing week by week. With Glatzel off the mark and a game at home, Cardiff will want to impress. A win here could be the turning point of a slow start. 2-0.