Things have not quite gone according to plan for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thus far, with the Bluebirds falling to the bottom of the table following defeats in his opening two Premier League games as manager.
They visit the Reebok Stadium hoping to find form against a Bolton side who were thrashed 7-1 by Reading in Championship action last weekend and are also looking for respite from their league struggles.
Solskjaer won this competition twice during his time at Manchester United, whom Cardiff face on Tuesday, and is likely to name a strong side as he targets a victory that will give his team momentum heading to Old Trafford. New signing Magnus Wolff Eikrem could make a full debut in midfield.
Andrew Taylor is his only senior absentee, and therefore Kevin McNaughton, who spent a spell on loan at Bolton earlier this term, should continue to deputise at left-back. Craig Bellamy has featured off the bench in their last two games and may make a first start since November 9 on the wing.
Dougie Freedman would possibly want to ring the changes following Bolton's recent drubbing, but his injury-depleted Trotters squad is short of alternatives, so the same back four will probably be retained.
French striker David N'gog is in talks with Cardiff's Welsh rivals Swansea City over a potential transfer and thus may sit out, and with Jermaine Beckford unlikely to be fit, Freedman will choose between Sanmi Odelusi and Craig Davies to perform the lone striker role.
Possible starting lineups
Bolton: Lonergan; Baptiste, Knight, Mills, Ream; Spearing, Davies, Danns; Eagles, Chung-Yong, Davies
Cardiff: Marshall; Theophile-Catherine, Caulker, Turner, McNaughton; Medel, Eikrem; Bellamy, Mutch, Noone; Campbell
Sports Mole says: 1-2