Hillsborough disaster leaves Neil Warnock cautious over safe standing plans

MIDDLESBROUGH manager Neil Warnock admits he is cautious regarding the prospect of safe standing areas potentially being introduced at grounds in the New Year.

Premier League and Championship clubs have been asked for expressions of interest to pilot safe standing areas this season - possibly from January 1 onwards. Clubs have until October 6 to submit an application to the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA).

Since 1994, first and second-tier grounds in England and Wales have been required to be all-seaters by law.

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Standing in English football's top two divisions was outlawed following recommendations made in the Taylor Report into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which 97 Liverpool fans lost their lives.

Neil Warnock.

Sheffield-born Warnock says that memories of the disaster makes him wary amid the current talk for standing areas to be re-introduced.

Warnock, whose Boro side visit Reading in a televised lunch-time Championship fixture on Saturday, said: "Coming from Sheffield and the disaster that happened at Sheffield Wednesday, it is a very sore point and we have to leave it the experts, really and the experts have to look at it at every angle.

"If they can get people back standing up, then so be it. But we cannot obviously allow anything like that (Hillsborough) to happen any time again and it is still long in the memory of people in Sheffield.

"I would imagine we will know more as the next few months go by."

Meanwhile, Warnock has revealed that defender Anfernee Dijksteel will be out of action for a number of weeks with injury sustained in last weekend's home loss to Blackpool, with Lee Peltier likely to switch to right-back at Reading.

Warnock said: "Dijksteel is going to be out for a substantial time. I don't expect to see him for quite a few weeks. It doesn’t look good."