Neil Warnock admits he needs to sort out 'injury mess' at the Riverside ahead of Middlesbrough's crunch games with Peterborough United and Barnsley

For Neil Warnock the second international break of the season has come both at the right and the wrong time.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 4:22 pm

The Boro boss watched on grim-faced on Saturday as his side fell to their fifth defeat of the season against struggling Hull City and now faces an agonising 11 day wait until his side can attempt to put things right against Peterborough United.

Having said that, the break does allow Warnock a reprieve from the increasing frustration being vented his way from Boro supporters.

The 3,500 in attendance at Hull on Saturday left aiming their disgruntlement towards the away dugout as Warnock struggles to lift the mood on Teesside with the club lingering in the bottom half of the Championship table.

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Neil Warnock is under pressure after a slow start to the season at the Riverside (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Things have not been easy for Warnock with a number of injuries wreaking havoc on his defensive options but the 72-year-old hasn’t helped himself in those matters either having allowed certain figures to leave the Riverside this summer - most notably the in-form Djed Spence who continues to impress while on-loan at Nottingham Forest.

And while the international break gives some of those injured players time to heal, the Boro boss admitted to the Gazette he doesn’t expect any of those players to be available for what is now a crucial home encounter with Peterborough when the Championship season resumes.

“I think [the international break] would come at a good time if it was about four weeks long,” said Warnock.

“But it’s only two weeks so it’s going to be a difficult period.

Paddy McNair picked up an injury while on international duty in September (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

“It’s not looking likely any of the injured lads will be back for that Peterborough game.

“Those of us still on Teesside, we’ve planned a normal week just about. We’ll probably give them the Friday off and have a long weekend this weekend.

“We’ll be in working really hard this week. There are one or two things planned in that we haven’t done yet that we need to.

“We have to be ready next week to sort the mess out with the injured players.”

But while Warnock works those he has available to him hard on the training ground over the international break, there will be eyes cast on those competing for their countries in the hope they do not come back with any further injuries.

During September’s break Warnock was greeted by Paddy McNair’s injury sustained on a plastic pitch in a friendly match with Estonia that kept the Northern Irishman out for three games upon his return - Warnock admitting if similar happens this week his side will be ‘cream crackered’ defensively.

And that is all in which Warnock can do at this moment in time.

Work hard while sitting and praying his misfortune - at least from an injury perspective - will turn with a double-header at the Riverside against two teams in Peterborough and Barnsley which Boro really must secure maximum points from if Warnock is to turn an ever growing tide.

“It’s a bleak picture at the minute,” he said.

“That’s how football is though. You’ve got to overcome these things. We’re in a great job and there are a lot of people worse off than us.”

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