Middlesbrough v Watford - Neil Warnock looks ahead with optimism

AFTER defeat to Bournemouth on Good Friday, Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock admits his thoughts are already turning to next season.

Frustrated: Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock on the touchline at Bournemouth. Picture: PA

Boro sit in ninth, seven points behind sixth-placed Reading, as they prepare to welcome high-flying Watford to the Riverside Stadium.

The Hornets have won 10 of their last 11 games and sit comfortably in the automatic promotion places, although they have played more games than the sides directly below them.

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It means they will still arrive in Middlesbrough on high alert but Warnock insists his side will still “put up a fight” in their remaining seven games.

“Bournemouth are where they should be in the league and we’re probably punching above, I’m quite excited about next season,” he said.

He continued: “We have to make sure we put up a fight.

“I thought we did really well against Bournemouth, even though we conceded three sloppy goals.

“It shows what we are missing. The effort was put in, that is all you can ask.”

Boro have been hit by two injury blows as key duo Marcus Tavernier and Dael Fry have been ruled out for most of April.

The pair missed Friday’s 3-1 defeat on the south coast, with Warnock confirming the news of their injuries post match.

“Dael hurt his calf in training, we had no chance of playing him,” said Warnock.

“He will be out for about two or three and the same for Marcus.”

Warnock also reaffirmed the news that Anfernee Dijksteel will miss the rest of the season with an ankle problem.

Last six games: Middlesbrough LLWWLW; Watford WWWWWW

Referee: T Robinson (West Sussex)

Last time: Watford 1 Middlesbrough 0, September 11, 2020; Championship

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