Middlesbrough v Cardiff City: Upset possible as Bates leads way for Boro

Championship: MIDDLESBROUGH manager Tony Mowbray hopes handing hometown hero Matthew Bates the captaincy could inspire his side's fight to escape the relegation zone.

They host Cardiff today in dire need of success having won just once in their last five games.

But Mowbray believes Bates can lift them and said: "I'd like to think it's a responsibility that can help Matthew, being a local lad, and hopefully he can enjoy a successful period,"

Cardiff – despite an electric start to the season which saw them emerge as early favourites for promotion – are currently vulnerable having won just once in six leading to pressure on manager Dave Jones and leaving the home side fancying their chances of an upset.

Their top defender David Wheater is suspended but midfielder Barry Robson is expected to return after illness. Striker Leroy Lita is a doubt with a similar virus, but midfielder Kevin Thomson could be available after leg trouble while Cardiff are missing their key strike threat Jay Bothroyd (hamstring).