Middlesbrough v Blackpool: Neil Warnock hoping for ‘spark’ from new faces

GIVEN his longevity on the managerial circuit, Neil Warnock has certainly earned the right to go with the odd hunch or two.

His decision to hand Andraz Sporar a debut from the start in Wednesday night’s game at Nottingham Forest – after telling him that he was not playing the day before – bore handsome fruit by way of the Slovenian international’s magnificent strike.

Sporar is highly likely to have played his way into a first start at the Riverside Stadium today – Warnock would be a brave manager if he did not – and given his unerring finish, it is no surprise to hear the word that the veteran boss uses to describe him.

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He said: “He is a confident lad. I don’t think I have met one as confident as him for many years.

Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock. Picture: PA.

“I told Andraz on the day before that I was not going to play him and it just shows you, really.

“Sometimes, you just get little feelings about changing things and that is what I did.

“I had a change of mind and thought: ‘Let’s get him some minutes, thinking about Saturday’s game coming up.’

“When I told him he was playing, he said: ‘Yes, I am ready.’

Sporar and several other Boro players such as Onel Hernandez, James Lea Siliki and Lee Peltier are eyeing home debuts today against a Blackpool side who beat the Teessiders 3-0 in the Carabao Cup earlier this season and have suffered just one defeat in their five visits to the Riverside.

Warnock, whose side have won one of their opening three Championship home games, losing and drawing the others, added: “I think we have been very unfortunate not to win more games (at home this season), but I think the fans have been very appreciative of the type of football we have played.

“Hopefully the new lads will give us that spark we have missed.”