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Neil Warnock makes Championship promotion prediction; ‘scramble’ for two playoff spots

Neil Warnock makes his Championship promotion prediction with the veteran Middlesbrough boss suggesting a ‘scramble’ for two playoff spots.

The 2021/22 season isn’t even two months old, however that hasn’t stopped the 72 year old from showing confidence in predicting four of of the top six come May next year.

The Boro manager thinks West Brom, Fulham and Sheffield United plus Bournemouth are all nailed on for top six spots, leaving the rest of the clubs in the division “scrambling around for two places”.

Right now, the playoffs are occupied by Bournemouth, Fulham, Stoke and Blackburn, with Huddersfield, QPR, Bristol City, Cardiff and Birmingham sitting close by.

Three of the four teams picked out by Warnock are already flying high, while his former side Sheffield United now look to have recovered from their very slow start and are on the rise ahead of their trip to the Riverside Stadium in midweek.

For Boro, the table doesn’t look too good for them ahead of Saturday afternoon’s game at Reading. What makes it more frustrating for Warnock is that he thinks his team have played well enough to be up in the mix now had Boro not “chucked points away”, as recently seen in the defeat to Blackpool last week.

“Teams like Middlesbrough, we should be in the play-offs,” he said with the club in 16th position, taking 9 points from 8 games prior to their game on Saturday.

“When you look at the points we’ve chucked away, we should be up there now.”

Assessing the Championship promotion picture and how it will develop, he said: “The three relegated clubs will be there or thereabouts, but it’s still an opportunity (for Boro).

“The four teams – the three relegated teams and Bournemouth – two will go up automatically, then it’s up to the rest of the league to get two more in.”

Coventry are currently surprising a lot of people, flying high in second place following their home win against Peterborough United on Friday night.

Warnock said: “I put Coventry in the group scrambling around for the two places.

“The three that came down and Bournemouth, the two will come from them.

“But the likes of Fulham, they lost to Reading last week, Blackpool a couple of weeks before, West Brom have drawn a few. It’s not easy for anybody, it’s only 11-a-side. The money side doesn’t change everything.”

Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock has been asked for his thoughts on Derby County’s administration woes. with Reading also set to get a points deduction.

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Speaking to DerbyshireLive‘s colleagues in Middlesbrough at TeesideLive, Warnock said: “Derby’s such a good club with really loyal fans, and they’ll stick with them.

“In a football sense, Wayne (Rooney) can’t really go wrong. It’s been taken out of his hands, all he can do is enjoy his management experience and the club will come back stronger for it. Whatever will be, will be, in that sense.

“The club is bigger than anyone else. I was very surprised when Bury went under because that was mismanaged.

“But at this level now, it’s quite frightening to see clubs like Derby, with the standing they’ve got, punished like this. But that’s what rules and regulations are for.”

Warnock also moved to praise Boro owner Steve Gibson, who has been chairman of Middlesbrough since 1994.

“The game is in such a precarious financial situation now, with sponsorships and things like that,” Warnock added.

“But he’s kept this club going in a fabulous way. I don’t think anybody could say a bad word about him.

“They do mind, but I don’t know why. You’ve just got to get on with it. I would like to see us up at the top end of that table and Steve enjoying himself.”

“I’ve had some cracking games there, both for and against,” Warnock said on Reading, speaking at his pre-match press conference.

“I’ve been battered there and I’ve won two or three too. It is normally a place where you get a good game of football.

“They [Reading] have got some excellent players and it will be good to come up against them and we have got to try and instil the way that we play as well.

“We have done alright there, we needed a result there early on, it was probably the most important result of my early tenure really.

“It is a place I always enjoy going to. I always get stick there, but it is a nice atmosphere I think at Reading.”

Warnock has said he doesn’t feel that Veljko Paunovic and his Reading players will be affected by the talk of a possible points deduction.

Paunovic said this week that he and his players could not be distracted by off-field matters, adding that his sole focus was on the game.

“I don’t think players worry about anything other than themselves, really,” Warnock said.

“That’s how players are really at every level.”

As for the possibility of Reading facing a points deduction, Warnock would not be drawn into too much detail in his response.

“You don’t know all the ins and outs from all of these clubs,” he said.

“But that is what the fair play is supposed to be about and any breaches should be investigated.”

As Neil Warnock makes his Championship promotion prediction with ‘scramble’ for the two playoff spots suggested, what do you make of what he had to say? Can you see it ending up that way? Let us know via our socials!

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