WITH A combined age of nearly 130 and almost 65 years of collective experience in the dug-out, Tony Pulis and Neil Warnock pit their wits against each other today in an intriguing Championship battle of the managerial ‘golden oldies’.
Warnock is gunning for a record eighth promotion of his lengthy managerial career with his Cardiff side currently well positioned and just one point behind second-placed Aston Villa.
While considerable sections of the Principality will be willing on Warnock in his pursuit of history, a select few will be backing the visiting manager this afternoon as he eyes a rewarding return to his homeland.
Welshman Pulis, born in nearby Newport, will certainly not be short in the support stakes as he aims to orchestrate a keynote win for Middlesbrough, searching for a catalyst to ignite their top-six bid ahead of the business end of the season.
Pulis said: “It is going back home for me really, back to south Wales. I like to see the Welsh teams all doing well, but I will be doubly determined to win the game though.
“My wife has got about eight going and I have got a few going as well, so we have got a lot of family and friends going to the game. Most of them will be hoping and praying that Middlesbrough win.
“It is going to be a tough game, they (Cardiff) have done brilliant. If you look at the league position, they are there for a reason.
“They have got an identity. They all know what they are doing and all know what they are trying to do and achieve. I think the most important thing is that we try and stick to what we have been doing.”
Boro will run a late check on forward Rudy Gestede, who has struggled with a back problem since last weekend’s game against Reading.
The former Aston Villa forward has not trained for a “couple of days” and will be assessed before a decision is made.
Last six games: WDLWDW Middlesbrough LWLDLW.
Referee: D Bond (Lancashire).
Last time: Cardiff 1 Middlesbrough 0; October 20, 2015; Championship.