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Opinion: Neil Warnock’s transfer gamble could pay off as Middlesbrough hunt play-off spot



Neil Warnock’s Middlesbrough side are still in the hunt for a play-off spot after their thumping 3-0 win over Stoke City on Saturday.

Boro’s form in recent weeks has been hit and miss having won just two of their last five Championship games. However, Saturday’s crushing win over a strong Stoke side should give them the confidence to push on.

During the victory Nathaniel Mendez-Laing bagged his first goal for the club since Warnock bought him in after being released by Cardiff in January.

Mendez-Laing played under Warnock during his time in Wales and if the 72-year-old can get the best out of the attacker it could fire his side towards the play-offs.

Mendez-Laing has missed a lot of football in recent months and has needed time to regain some sort of match sharpness, but Warnock is adamant that the striker has the quality to win games at this level.

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Middlesbrough currently sit eight points behind Barnsley who currently hold possession of the much sought-after final play-off spot. Barnsley themselves have shown how much of an impact a winning run can have on the table as they have put together a string of 11 games unbeaten in the Championship, something that is almost unheard of.

Boro will be looking to Mendez-Laing to secure more goals now that he is off and running and fire them into the top six, somewhere that all clubs dream of being at the end of the season.

The former Cardiff man is yet to complete a full 90 minutes for his new club Middlesbrough after joining them on a free in January, but he has certainly shown across his career that he has the ability to perform at the highest level.

The 28-year-old scored twice on the final day of the Premier League season for Cardiff against Manchester United whilst Warnock was in charge and it is this sort of ability that Boro will be looking to get from him.

Despite being out of the frame at Cardiff it goes without question that Mendez-Laing has star quality, you don’t get to play in the Premier League without a little bit about you. He has blistering pace and can shrug defenders off with ease.

The Boro have struggled to score goals this season having netted just 44 times – that’s less than the eight clubs above them. Manager Warnock is all too aware of these struggles as he told Teesside Live.

“We haven’t had enough goals this season and that’s why we are where we are really.

The Birmingham born winger will certainly be looking to prove a point to those at Cardiff who doubted him and ultimately released him.

Now that he has a goal to his name and some fire in his belly, expect to see Boro getting the very best out of this talented player who will be doing everything he can to not only ensure he finishes above his old club, but also to get back into the Premier League.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Neil Warnock’s transfer gamble could pay off as Middlesbrough hunt play-off spot

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