Luton boss hopes to emulate the career of Boro manager Warnock

Hatters supremo aiming for a lengthy spell in the dug-out

By Mike Simmonds
Wednesday, 16th December 2020, 9:18 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th December 2020, 9:20 am
Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock
Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock

Town manager Nathan Jones would love to one day emulate the kind of career that tonight’s opposite number, Middlesbrough chief Neil Warnock, has enjoyed.

The 72-year-old, who was appointed Boro boss in June, leading the club away from the relegation zone, has been in the dug-out for over 1,500 matches during his lengthy career, starting out at Gainsborough Trinity in 1981.

He has also been in charge of Burton Albion, Scarborough, Notts County, Torquay United, Huddersfield Town, Plymouth Argyle, Oldham Athletic, Bury, Sheffield United, Crystal Palace (twice), QPR, Leeds United, Rotherham United and Cardiff City, winning eight promotions to date, a record in English football.

Jones himself reached 200 games for the Hatters on Saturday, taking his overall tally to 240 after a spell at Stoke City and two matches as Brighton caretaker.

It’s the first time he will have faced Warnock on the touch-line though, with Jones saying: “I’ve played against one of his sides but not actually as a manager.

“It’ll be good because he gets great respect from me, for the great career he’s had.

“I only hope I can manage anywhere near the level of games that he’s had.

“I would love to get the promotions that he has, so it’s only respect from me to him.

“Neil’s a perennial Championship promotion chaser.

“A manager who knows how to get results, a manager who’s had a fantastic career, a manager who’s stood the test of time at varied clubs and created (good) environments.

“You know you’re in for a real tough game when you come up against a Neil Warnock side. We know that and we have to be prepared for that.

“It’s unfortunate last year, in terms of Woody (Jonathan Woodgate) losing his job, but it happens in football and they’ve turned to someone who’s used to being at the right end of tables.

“It looks like a very good decision and we know what we’ll come up against when we come up against a Neil Warnock side.”

After avoiding the drop last term by just five points in the end, Warnock has navigated Boro into a far better position this term, sitting 10th in the table just shy of the play-offs.

They confidently dispatched Millwall 3-0 on Saturday to end a run of back-to-back defeats, as Jones added: “It’s a tough game. It’s always a tough game when you go away to the north-east and even more so now.

“They’ve had a great start, they’re a front-footed side and we know we’ll need to be at our best to get something against a top side.”