Middlesbrough v Barnsley: Neil Warnock concerned by defensive issues

NEIL WARNOCK has been around the Championship block long enough to know that unexpected things can – and invariably do – happen.

The Barnsley side who head to the Riverside this evening may be on the trough of a slump and have won just once this season, but the veteran Middlesbrough manager is not neccessarily reading too much into that.

He is mindful of the fact that Boro are again down on rearguard options with Dael Fry, Grant Hall, Anfernee Dijksteel and Marc Bola all sidelined, although Lee Peltier is at least available again after suspension.

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Warnock is also acutely aware that Barnsley’s poor run will not last forever either.

Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock: Wary of Barnsley threat.

Warnock, whose side have not won back-to-back league games this season, said: “We have looked at the last three games of Barnsley and they could have won every game. They have not had much luck and been caught on the sucker-punch.

“I think every game in this division is even-stevens and I don’t think Barnsley will be any different.

“They will be disappointed and frustrated, but they will be looking at our record and be thinking: ‘This is a great game to start our run up’.”

While Barnsley’s youngsters have struggled to make an impact in 2021-22, one of Boro’s rising stars in Josh Coburn was afforded the fillip of scoring his first goal in front of fans in netting the second in the win over Peterborough last weekend.

Warnock added: “He looks so much stronger now and that’s after working on his body and not just the football.

“He is a handful and some of our big and heavy lads try and intimidate him and it doesn’t bother him – and I love that from a kid at 18.”