It has been a difficult start to the season for Middlesbrough and Neil Warnock’s side have been unable to fully convince with their performances and results in the Championship.
Middlesbrough fell to a second successive defeat in mid-week when they were beaten by away from home by Luton Town. It is a result that leaves them 14th in the Championship table, although at this stage they are only four points adrift of the top-six in a congested mid-table.
Warnock managed to guide Middlesbrough to a tenth place finish in the Championship last term in his first full season in charge at the Riverside.
However, Boro did finish the campaign 13 points adrift of Bournemouth, who occupied the final play-off position.
This season, Boro were expected to challenge more closely for a place in the top-six. That at the moment is something they have been struggling to show that they will be able to do with their performance levels.
According to the latest report from the Daily Mail, Boro are now considering making a change in the dugout if they suffer a third successive defeat against West Brom this weekend.
With that in mind, we take a look at THREE potential managerial replacements they should target should they part ways with Warnock…
One manager that should be on Boro’s radar to potentially replace Warnock is former Preston North End boss Alex Neil. He has experience taking a side to promotion from the Championship in the past with him taking Norwich City into the Premier League via the play-offs in his time in charge at Carrow Road.
Neil’s style of play is a little more pleasing on the eye than Warnock’s, and he would be able to potentially unlock some of the quality that Middlesbrough do have within their squad in the final third. The likes of Marcus Tavernier and Onel Hernandez could be very effective if given the platform to express themselves under the former Preston boss.
It is true that Neil’s time with Preston ended last season with the Lilywhites suffering a slump in form, but up until that point there was a general consensus that he was taking them in the right direction and building something positive at Deepdale.
Boro could certainly do worse than giving Neil the chance to show what he can do once again in the Championship with a club that have ambitions of challenging for a place back in the Premier League.
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Another manager that is currently out of work that Boro should be thinking about is the experienced Chris Hughton. Despite the way things turned out for him at Nottingham Forest this term, there is no doubt that the former Brighton, Newcastle, Norwich City and Birmingham City manager is a quality operator at Championship level.
Hughton has already earned promotion from the English second tier with both Brighton and Newcastle in his managerial career and he guided his Birmingham side to the play-offs in his only season at St Andrews.
Forest is the only job where Hughton has not really been able to get results consistently in the Championship. That is not something that he should be too concerned about considering the high turn over in terms of managers that the Reds have gone through in recent years.
If Middlesbrough did appoint Hughton, they would be getting a manager capable of building on the solidity of a Warnock team, but also capable of getting his side to play a more possession-based style than Boro have been operating with.
Should Middlesbrough want to make an ambitious appointment for a manager that is currently in work then they could do a lot worse than trying to lure Ryan Lowe to the Riverside from Plymouth Argyle.
Lowe has been doing an exceptional job at Plymouth and he has guided the Pilgrims to second place in the third tier so far this term against the odds. That has seen him get the very best out of all of the options available to him and also manage to recruit well and find the right players to suit his style of play.
It has been a continuous rise for Lowe in terms of his managerial trajectory so far with him taking Bury and Plymouth to promotion from League Two and now establishing the Pilgrims amongst the promotion chasers in the third tier.
This is a manager that is destined for the Championship in the near future. Middlesbrough would do well to try and convince him to make the move to the Riverside and it would be an exciting potential appointment.