Neil Warnock was brought in towards the end of last season to ensure that Middlesbrough retained their Sky Bet Championship status and then to ensure that they were not in a similar fight to ensure their status again this time around. On both counts so far, it looks like a job well done.
Having sat outside the relegation zone only on goal difference when he took over, Warnock guided Boro to four wins from eight games in June and July to finish 17th, five points clear of the bottom three.
A summer of tweaking the squad resulted in a much more slimline group of players on Teeside. The likes of Ryan Shotton, Daniel Ayala, Rudy Gestede, Adam Clayton, George Friend, and Tomas Meijas were among 20 players to depart permanently, or on loan, with just six coming the other way.
Cole Kiernan (Sunderland), Grant Hall (QPR), Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic), and Chuba Akpom (PAOK) were permanent additions with Patrick Roberts (Manchester City) and Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham) arriving on loan.
Two points from three matches, and an EFL Cup Second Round exit at the hands of Barnsley, wasn't the greatest of starts but since then Boro have shown their mettle. They are unbeaten in nine league games, winning four of them. They aren't free-scoring, netting just nine times in ten league games, but they don't need to be with a defense that has shipped just five all season, keeping five clean sheets in their last six.
There's no change to our long-term injury list with Christian Norgaard, Mads Roerslev, Shandon Baptiste, and Pontus Jansson all out. Mads Bech Sorensen missed Tuesday's draw against Swansea City and is also out for tomorrow afternoon.
Sam Morsy is a doubt with a hamstring issue and Grant Hall is out but other than that, Boro have a fully-fit group
The 71-year-old has a wealth of managerial experience, having taken charge of 15 other clubs prior to arriving on Teesside. He first made the move into the dugout at Gainsborough Trinity in 1980, following a playing career that saw him make 327 career league appearances at eight different clubs. Warnock has now earned promotion on eight separate occasions - a British football record. He famously lead Notts County to successive Play-Off victories to reach the First Division in 1991 and took Sheffield United (2005/06), QPR (2010/11), and Cardiff City (2017/18) to the Premier League.
⚖ James Linington will be the man in charge tomorrow afternoon
🆚 Phil Spencer of Give Me Sport on Boro
LAST TIME OUT
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