The narrative surrounding tonight’s meeting has centred around the future of Hughton, who has presided over a fraught start to the season at Forest, who are winless in the league this term and prop up the table with just one point from a possible 18.
For his part, Warnock’s sole concern in getting Boro’s show back on the road after a modest start to the campaign, culminating in Saturday’s disappointing loss at Coventry City.
The Boro chief commented: “In management, it is such a ‘dog-eat-dog’ (world), nobody worries about anybody else but themselves. You can have sympathy after a game, but we all don’t want to be in that situation.”
As far as Warnock is concerned, Boro’s lame weekend showing negates any talk that facing a Forest side on such a dire run – they are without a league success since April 5 – should be viewed as a good thing.
He said: “He’ll (Hughton) be probably thinking the same about us if he watched us on Saturday.
“They have got a good squad, really and if you look at their squad, they should not be down there and Chris will know that. He will be as disappointed as anybody as he’s a conscientious worker.
“We have just got to look after ourselves. And I am hoping that the lads who were disappointing on Saturday lift their game now.
“There is no good or bad times to play any of the teams. They are all difficult games and if we are not up to it, they will beat us. Simple as that.
“It is down to us and if we are up for it, we can beat anybody. But everybody has got to be on top of their game.”
Key defender Paddy McNair is set to miss a second game with a side strain sustained in Northern Ireland’s recent friendly on an artificial pitch in Estonia, which left Warnock livid.
He said: “I am very disappointed. 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.”
Last six games: Nottingham Forest LLLLDL; Middlesbrough LWLDDL.
Referee: J Linington (Isle of Wight).
Last time: Nottm Forest 1 Middlesbrough 2, January 20, 2021; Championship.