MIDDLESBROUGH manager Neil Warnock has hit out at Northern Ireland bosses for sanctioning a friendly on an artificial surface against Estonia in the international break - with influential player Paddy McNair set to miss a second game after picking up a side injury in that match.
McNair was part of the side who won 1-0 in Tallinn on September 2, with Warnock - who has fired a broadside in the direction of Northern Ireland officials before in their usage of his players - perplexed as to why a friendly was booked there, on such a surface, between two World Cup qualifiers.
McNair had been due to start in last Saturday’s league game at Coventry, but complained of soreness in his side in the warm-up and was replaced by Sol Bamba.
He is likely to be again be missing in Wednesday’s game at Nottingham Forest
Warnock said: “I did not think we were helped with Paddy missing out late on having worked with him during the week.
“I am very disappointed. I honestly have not got a clue how these international teams work.
“Paddy was telling me he felt it on a Sunday in the friendly game they had. Then, he tells me that it was the worst plastic pitch he had ever seen that he played on for 95 minutes.
“There is no wonder his right-hand side is all stiff. How would you want to pick a friendly game in between two really tough international games on a plastic pitch! It defies logic and there is no sense in it.
“He is a slight strain on the bottom of his hamstring, not his main one. It is not much, but all from this plastic pitch. It is ridiculous and we have to cover the cost of that.
“Ninety-five minutes on a plastic pitch with lads who are not used to it. It is alright me talking, but I’d like to see most people do that. Especially on the old QPR and Oldham pitches which I was brought up with.
“It used to bounce over the house and Paddy said this was just as bad as those.”