Gardner missed the defeat at Ipswich last weekend and the on-loan midfielder is set to return to parent club Aston Villa following Saturday’s match.
Reds boss Dougie Freedman’s other issues remain, with central defender Kelvin Wilson set to serve the third game of his four-game ban.
Andy Reid (groin), Chris Cohen (knee), Britt Assombalonga (knee) and Matty Fryatt (Achilles) remain long-term injury problems.
Cardiff will assess Joe Ralls before naming their starting line-up.
The homegrown midfielder limped out of the 3-2 win over Blackpool last weekend with a knock and replacement Stuart O’Keefe will hope to get the nod if Ralls is not fit.
Eoin Doyle and Joe Mason should get the chance to continue their partnership up front, while Ben Turner could make his first appearance since January having been on the bench last weekend following injury.
Scott Malone will be monitored with Fabio on standby to continue at left-back.