Bailey has started the last two matches, at Coventry last week and against Hull City a fortnight ago. He is confident that Boro can climb the table sooner rather than later, and that the threat of playing League One football as he did last season for Charlton Athletic should provide sufficient motivation.
He said: It's very important to stay in this division. Dropping down to League One is hard, Middlesbrough know how hard it is to drop down a division.
We know that we're in a relegation battle, and we know it's going to be hard, but we think we're good enough to get out of it and soon.
Few would have predicted that today's teams would have been at opposite ends of the table by December, but Boro's wretched form, and Cardiff's lightning start, has resulted in a second bottom versus second top encounter.
Cardiff bring a very different threat from the roughand- tumble display produced by Coventry seven days ago.
Bailey said: They'll want to win every game, they know they need to win almost every game to stay up there.
For us, it's a completely different game from how it was against Coventry. They're going to get the ball down and play it, and we're going to have to match them.
Bailey, a £1.4m capture from Charlton Athletic in the summer, has suffered a stop-start beginning to his Boro career, but is hoping for a run of games in the side, even if that means he has to play out of position.
He explained: I'm playing a slightly deeper role than I'm used to, but it's what the manager has asked me to do and wherever I'm asked to play I'll do that to my best ability.
Obviously I'd like to get forward and have a few chances, but we've got players to do that as well. Hopefully they can go on and knock a few of them in.
At the moment I'm protecting the back four, or the back two, since the full-backs are pushing on a bit, so we need a bit of a base to look after the defence.
I'm just happy to be playing and hopefully I can stay in the team.
Cardiff boast the inclusion of Craig Bellamy, and while Tony Mowbray described the Bluebirds' acquisition of the Manchester City striker as a gift from heaven, Bailey will not spend too much time worrying about him.
He said: We know he's a top-class player but we have to worry about what we have to do, not what they can do to us.
Hopefully if we do what we can do then that will be enough.
Everyone's got to stand up, look at the league table and say that we're not playing well enough. We're not performing, we've got to stick together and go out against Cardiff and show them what we're made of.