Sheffield Wednesday will stay up, insists Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock

MIDDLESBROUGH manager Neil Warnock believes that next opponents Sheffield Wednesday will win their battle against relegation in the Championship - and has stressed that his side’s forthcoming games against the lowly Owls and Wycombe will be among the toughest of the season.

Neil Warnock

Boro, who were inactive on Boxing Day due to several positive Covid-19 tests at scheduled opponents Rotherham United, now face two back-to-back away trips to the division’s bottom two - starting with a game against the Owls, managed by former Riverside chief Tony Pulis.

But the vastly-experienced Boro boss and Sheffielder, manager across the city from Hillsborough at Sheffield United for a number of years, is reading little into the positions on both Wednesday and Wycombe.

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Warnock said: “We have got two of the most difficult games coming up now.

“I think when we (recently) played Stoke, they outmuscled us really and Preston and now we have two games against teams who are really well organised and physically strong.

“You do not get as much success as Tony has had without having a formula. You cannot knock it; it is easy to criticise but he has done it over a long period.

“I think he will get them out of the bottom three as well and they will just manage to get above that before the end of the season.”

On returning to Hillsborough and his home city, he added: “It is better when there are fans there and I do enjoy the banter with the Wednesdayites and I have always enjoyed that over the years.

“It is great driving back up to Hillsborough. It brings back memories of when I was a kid.”

Warnock confirmed that Ashley Fletcher and Jonny Howson could return to action in two to three weeks’ time.