Middlesbrough v Bournemouth - Kevin Blackwell deputises for Neil Warnock

Neil Warnock may not be cajoling Middlesbrough’s players in person from the touchline today, but expect them to be in safe hands nevertheless.

Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock will miss today's game after testing positive for coronavirus (Picture: PA)

Warnock’s long-time lieutenants Kevin Blackwell and Ronnie Jepson will take the side in his absence while he watches the game from his north-east base after testing positive for Covid-19.

Technology will enable Warnock to have an input before, during and after the game.

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But with Blackwell and Jepson boasting countless years of dug-out experience at Football League level, Warnock will be grateful for their presence in person.

Blackwell, who has previously managed Leeds United and Sheffield United, said: “We would not have worked together as long as we have if we did not trust and know each other inside out, which we do.

“I have managed nearly 400 games at big clubs and Ronnie has managed games at places like Gillingham. The two assistants have got more experience in management than many of the managers we will come up against.

“Alongside Neil, we have got experience of over 2,500 games in management. I also played with Neil and have been a coach, player and assistant and we know each other inside out.

“If you were looking at any organisation, they would be very lucky to have a management team where it would be seamless if one was not there, but it is exactly how it is.”

On what role Warnock will have remotely, he added: “The beauty of modern technology now is that we can speak to Neil live as the game is going on.

“We will do that and use technology to the best of our advantage.

“Neil is certainly into that and he has been well enough to be involved in nearly everything we have done this week.”

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James Mitchinson