It’s another out-of-form opponent for struggling Sunderland at lunch time today, with Cardiff seeking to end a run of four straight defeats.
Neil Warnock’s promotion chasers will be hoping for a boost similar to that handed to the likes of Sheffield United and Barnsley when they recently faced the generous Black Cats.
The new year has begun pretty much how 2017 panned out for sorry Sunderland, who despite picking up eight points in their last six outings have slumped back to the bottom of the table and been eliminated from the FA Cup since January dawned.
The visitors will be cheered on by another sizeable travelling contingent. Over 1,000 Sunderland fans will be housed in one of the Cardiff City Stadium’s corners for the longest away trip of the campaign.
The Black Cats are still transitioning into a Chris Coleman side - one which won’t begin to look a little more like that which will face the rest of the season until later in the month.
Didier Ndong is expected to leave Wearside this month and it looks like the record signing won’t be seen again in a Sunderland shirt, amidst suggestions his head isn’t in the right place.
Darron Gibson will be missing until the spring and Paddy McNair is also ruled out. Aiden McGeady will be absent but Marc Wilson may get the nod in midfield again to stifle the expected Cardiff onslaught.
The Sunderland matchday squad will be padded out with youngsters. Lynden Gooch is is in with a shout of getting his first start since Boxing Day and Jake Clarke-Salter is likely to be handed his first outing since moving from Chelsea on loan.
The Bluebirds are likely to be without midfielder Craig Bryson and winger Kadeem Harris. They join long-term absentees Lee Peltier, Matthew Connolly and Aron Gunnarsson in the Cardiff treatment room.
Neil Warnock is the man Sunderland should have appointed a quarter of a century ago. The much-travelled manager was linked with a move to Roker Park as long back as 1993 when Malcolm Crosby was sacked but the 69-year-old has only ever beaten the Wearsiders once when they’ve visited his manor. That was in 2004 when he was at Sheffield United and Mick McCarthy was boss at the Stadium of Light.
Cardiff will be home bankers for many betting aficionados looking to get an early boost on their Saturday accumulators. The Bluebirds are rated at around 7/10 to beat the visiting Black Cats for today’s televisual spectacular. Sunderland are better than 5/1 to escape with an unfancied three points.