Premier League Preview: Cardiff v Sunderland
The Scot was relieved of his duties on Friday after weeks of unrest at the club, reportedly because of disagreements between himself and owner Vincent Tan.
Cardiff, who sit in 16th place, are four points ahead of their visitors and, following Thursday's comprehensive 3-0 home defeat to Southampton, have won just once in eight top-flight games.
They have also scored only twice in six Premier League games and will come up against a Sunderland side who have kept three league clean sheets in a row.
But if is off-field issues that have dominated the headlines at the Cardiff City Stadium, with manager Mackay's position having come under severe threat in recent weeks.
Many had felt the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool would be his last game in charge but he was also in the dugout for the home loss to Southampton.
That game showed he had the full support of the fans, due to their vocal backing for the 41-year-old before, during and after the match but it proved to be his last in charge of the club.
Things look a lot rosier for Sunderland however, following their first away league win of the season against Everton on Thursday.
Poyet's men have endured a miserable year, narrowly avoiding relegation last season under former boss Paolo Di Canio, but will hope for a repeat of their performance at Goodison Park.
They can end 2013 four games unbeaten by avoiding defeat and will fancy their chances against another club involved in the relegation shake-up.
Ki Sung-Yueng was the man who scored the all-important goal at Goodison Park and the Swansea City loanee will look to make it three goals in four Sunderland games on his return to Wales.
However, Ki's penalty at Goodison Park was Sunderland's first goal on the road since August and Poyet will no doubt remain concerned by his side's toothless attack away from home.
That said, the head-to-head record does make pleasant reading for those travelling from the north east, with Sunderland winning on their last two visits to Cardiff.
He has no fresh injury concerns as John O'Shea could make a return from his shoulder injury although defensive partner Wes Brown remains suspended.
Cardiff's only likely absentee is Craig Bellamy, who is suffering with a knee injury.