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Warnock to be in contact with Middlesbrough staff and players from home for Bournemouth clash after positive Covid test

NEIL WARNOCK will get his tech head on to try and inspire Middlesbrough to victory over Bournemouth.

The 71-year-old tested positive for Covid-19 this week and will be forced to watch today’s Championship clash from his North East home while self-isolating.

Trusted lieutenants Kevin Blackwell and Ronnie Jepson will take charge of the side as 1,000 fans return to the Riverside for the first time since March.

And despite his health scare, which also forced him to watch the Carabao Cup game with Barnsley from a private box, Warnock will still be in the ears of his squad and assistants before and during the game.

Blackwell said: “He’s fine – that’s the frustrating thing for everybody. We just him all the best and get well as quick as he can.

 

“He is in his house up and here and he will be watching from there. 

He’s got everything technologically wise set-up to watch the game and communicate directly to the ground.

“It’s marvelous what technology is now and gone are the days when if he was sent home no-one would have seen him for 14 days.

“We can see him everyday and the company is running very well as it is. 

“Neil will certainly speak to one or two platers by phone over the next 24 hours over what we are expecting from them.

“There is an opportunity, hopefully, that he will speak to them before the game. Quite when that will be, I’m not sure yet.

“With this new Zoom technology and everything else we have got it, and the IT guys we have here, we can rig up something and will certainly use that.

Boro lost 1-0 at Watford on the opening day before Barnsley dumped them out of the cup on Tuesday.

However, the Teessiders will have the extra lift of having supporters cheering them on against the Cherries, who beat Blackburn 3-2 last weekend, after the game was given the green light to be part of the EFL’s Covid-19 programme.

This will be the first time Boro’s fans will have a chance to welcome Warnock’s management team in person, and given the awful run of one home win since Boxing Day, Blackwell cannot wait to have supporters back.

He added: “We want to win games and it’s as simple as that… they are the demands we set.

“Having fans there behind you can make such a difference. There is no doubt it will help.

“When it was closed down and we were fighting relegation, it actually helped us not to have fans here as myself, Neil and Ronnie were able to get information across live in the game, equally across to the players on the other side of the pitch, so that actually helped us.

“No we think we look a little bit more structured and getting better performances, the added bit of the crowd is what we now need to add that little extra edge that could win the games for us.

“So we are absolutely delighted they are coming back and we can’t wait until we can get many more back.”

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