KEVIN BLACKWELL has revealed that Neil Warnock was heavily involved in the decision to throw on goalscorer Marcus Browne in Middlesbrough’s 1-1 draw with Bournemouth this afternoon.

Having tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week, Warnock was forced to watch today’s action unfold on a laptop screen at his home close to Boro’s Hurworth training ground.

He spoke to his players before kick-off via a video call though, and was in constant contact with Boro’s backroom staff during the game.

He was involved in the decision to replace a hobbling Ashley Fletcher with Browne, with the move paying dividends when Browne headed home Paddy McNair’s cross to secure Boro’s first point of the season.

Blackwell said: “Neil said before the game, ‘Let’s look to use Browney’, and it was a great shout.

“It all worked fantastically. The technology now meant Neil could speak to the boys before the warm-up. And he had a chat at the end to let them know how proud he was.

“He hardly called throughout the game, to be fair, because the performance was that good. But he definitely had a shout in what was going on.

“We discuss everything. Myself, Ronnie (Jepson) and Neil always discuss decisions, and believe you me, there’s many an argument in the office about decisions.

“Browney was the only striker we had on the bench of any note, so it was a real no-brainer. Fletch was struggling and we needed someone who could play up front, and Browney came on and did the job.”

Blackwell was delighted to see 1,000 Boro fans in the Riverside, and felt the atmosphere generated in the West Stand was a factor in his side’s successful second-half comeback.

He said: “I said before the game that we would need that little edge at times, and the fans can give you that.

“I thought the players gave the fans the edge, and the fans responded to the players. It’s just a shame that sort of performance wasn’t seen by 25,000 or 30,000 Middlesbrough fans. That’s what the shame was.

“It was great to hear them though, and they were very vocal to be fair. But they responded to what they were seeing on the pitch, and what they saw on the pitch, I think they liked.

“Please God everybody goes home safely and we can see the start of things moving in the right direction.

“Clearly, things are starting to spike up again, and we’ve all got to be very careful how we do things. I know as a football club we’ve been absolutely adamant that we have to follow the protocols, and it was just unfortunate when Neil caught Covid.

“But we’ll keep on top of it, and make sure that hopefully the next time we can have 2,000 fans in and they can see a performance as good as that.”