Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray will be without key defender David Wheater for the npower Championship clash with Cardiff.
The 23-year-old is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season in last Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Coventry.
However, midfielder Barry Robson is expected to return after missing the game at the Ricoh Arena because of illness.
Striker Leroy Lita is a doubt with a similar virus, but midfielder Kevin Thomson could be available once again after another lay-off with soreness in the leg he broke earlier this season.
Long-term absentee Jonathan Franks (herniated disc) is stepping up his rehabilitation, but Stephen McManus (ankle ligaments), Willo Flood (knee), Rhys Williams (pelvis) and Matt Kilgallon (back) remain on the sidelines.