This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Neil Warnock’s job at Middlesbrough is arguably hanging by a thread after the Teesside club’s 1-0 away loss to Reading at the weekend, putting them in a lowly 18th place in the Championship table.
Although the defeat the Select Car Leasing Stadium doesn’t seem too bad on paper considering some of their other results this season, they were facing a side that are in the midst of a major injury crisis and were forced to start right-back Andy Yiadom and central midfielder Josh Laurent in central defence.
Teenager Dejan Tetek, who normally operates in the middle of the park, was shifted out to right-back with Yiadom’s change of position and Felipe Araruna’s injury to face Boro’s ‘player of the season’ so far in Isaiah Jones, a challenge the Serbian youth international stood up to.
Quiz: Have Middlesbrough ever been involved in these 18 scenarios?
This latest defeat has compounded Warnock’s misery, who has guided his side to just two wins from nine league games this term, losing four and drawing the remaining three after seeing 12 new players come in during the previous transfer window.
This summer investment and recent losses to Blackpool and Reading have only gone on to increase calls for the 72-year-old’s sacking despite his previous promotion-winning track record, with Boro struggling to build any sort of momentum in 2021/22 thus far.
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Should his job be in danger though amid this poor form? Or is it too early to pull the trigger?
We asked three of our writers at Football League World for their verdicts on this subject.
This was always going to be a massive season for Neil Warnock at Middlesbrough, but things have not started as well as he would have been expecting or hoping for when the campaign got underway.
It seems at the moment that Warnock does not yet have his best available starting line-up when everyone is fit and that is a real problem to have with nine games of the season having already gone by.
Boro have also in recent games lacked a cutting edge going forwards and have at times not really looked like a side under the management of Warnock.
There are few managers out there who have a record in the Championship that is comparable with Warnock’s, so if anyone has a chance of turning things around at Middlesbrough then it is him.
However, pressure will have to be on him over the next few weeks to start winning more matches because Middlesbrough are in danger of being left behind by the teams above them in the table.
You would suggest that Middlesbrough should not rush into a decision and get rid of Warnock at this stage. However, if results do not pick up over the next five or six matches then it might get to a point where a decision has to be made.
Warnock has already made comments that this season may be his last, and if results keep on going downhill then he may not even last the whole campaign.
For the summer transfer business, Boro have done you’d have expected them to have a better start to the season, but something doesn’t seem to be quite clicking and they couldn’t even score against a Reading team with no recognised centre-backs at the weekend.
In the short term, Warnock is a good manager because he has a track record of promotions but anything long-term at this stage is a concern as he’s not guaranteed to stick around due to his age.
If results don’t improve after the international break then I can seriously see Warnock potentially on the chopping block and Boro could potentially move towards a younger, more progressive head coach who can get the best out of their talented squad.
They already have a new head of recruitment in Kieran Scott from Norwich and a ‘head coach’ type who lets him get on with signing players could be what’s needed instead of Warnock if the wins do not come soon, with his job most definitely in danger.
No, I don’t think so.
A manager with Neil Warnock’s experience simply has to be given time and it’s too early in the season to talk of sacking him.
I’m not convinced the squad he’s working with is as good as some people seem to believe it is despite some of the exciting summer signings he’s made.
Things haven’t been encouraging recently but under Warnock, the turnaround is just around the corner.
In my eyes, there was no point in hiring the experienced coach and backing him in the summer just to sack him now.
Keep the faith!