Middlesbrough v Cardiff City: Boro keen to copy promotion rivals Blackburn Rovers to keep play-off bid alive

CHRIS WILDER has drawn inspiration from one of Middlesbrough’s own as the Teessiders seek to give their season the kiss of life this evening.

Boro’s play-off hopes may be in grave peril, but they are not mortally wounded just yet.

Ending an untimely five-match winless sequence tonight would maintain their prospects of a top-six finish and keep the pressure on old club Sheffield United, who occupy the final play-off spot.

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It is something that Blackburn Rovers, managed by legendary former Boro captain, boyhood fan and manager Tony Mowbray, did emphatically on Monday night when they thrashed Preston 4-1 at Deepdale.

Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

Rovers and Millwall are above ninth-placed Boro, who can leapfrog the pair of them with victory in their game in hand tonight.

More pertinently, three points would move them within two points of the Blades, who head to QPR on Friday evening.

Boro chief Wilder said: “I am not ashamed to say I really liked Blackburn (on Monday night). I think they are a good side and Tony is a great guy and a proper football man who does not ‘spin’ it.

“I see some of the managers and the nonsense that they come out with. They are bad losers and bad winners.

Middlesbrough manager, Chris Wilder. Picture: Will Matthews/PA

“Tony has been in the game a long time and is humble and gets on with the job. He was not knee-sliding on the pitch and jumping about (on Monday).

“His team (this calendar year) have not had some great results. They lost (Ben) Brereton-Diaz and have got him back. But I thought their performance (at Preston) was a marker for us.

“They have had a poor time and have not scored many goals, I think six in 15 (games) and then they score four in a derby. They were all walking away from Deepdale firmly believing they are right in the mix and I want that feeling on Wednesday night.”

Key defender Dael Fry could make his return after five games out with a calf injury tonight. If he is not quite ready, he should be available for the weekend home game with Stoke.

Last six games: Middlesbrough WLLDLD; Cardiff WLWLLL.

Referee: M Donohue (Greater Manchester).

Last time: Middlesbrough 1 Cardiff 1, February 27, 2021; Championship.