MIDDLESBROUGH will be appealing Paddy McNair’s red card in last night’s 2-1 win over Huddersfield Town, with Neil Warnock adamant the Northern Ireland international did not make contact with Juninho Bacuna in the incident that resulted in his dismissal.

McNair received a straight red card with nine minutes left, but while his studs were raised as he challenged Bacuna close to the edge of the area, he appeared to win the ball.

Middlesbrough claimed a much-needed victory thanks to first-half goals from Duncan Watmore and Ashley Fletcher, but Warnock is hoping the win did not come at the cost of losing the influential McNair to suspension.

The centre-half will be facing a three-match ban if his sending off is upheld, but Warnock is adamant he did nothing wrong.

“When I look at the sending off, I can’t believe it,” said the Boro boss. “I said to the referee when he came off, ‘You didn’t give it, did you?’ And he said, ‘No’, the linesman gave it.

“The linesman’s 30 yards away, and he hasn’t got an angle to be able to see what’s going on. How can he give it? It’s scandalous really. If the referee had given it, fair enough, because he’s there. But the linesman? He can’t be giving it.

“We’ll definitely appeal it tomorrow morning. Paddy is distraught. He said, ‘Gaffer – there’s no way it was a sending off’. He hasn’t caught Bacuna at all. I thought he might have caught him because I couldn’t see initially from where I was, but when you watch the video back, Bacuna is trying to flick the ball way, Paddy gets the ball, and he doesn’t catch him at all.”

Boro’s victory ended a five-match winless run, and lifted Warnock’s side to within three points of the play-off positions.

“It’s a big win for us,” he said. “It’s nights like that I’m really proud to be a manager, when they’re putting their bodies on the line. Apart from the first ten minutes, where they caught us a bit, I thought we dominated and should have been out of sight by half-time.

“We never make it easy do we though? I thought we were well in control of the second half until the sending off.”

Having conceded to Isaac Mbenza’s early free-kick, Boro equalised through a fine solo goal from Watmore.

Fletcher claimed what proved to be the winner from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time, and the striker’s return to the starting line-up for the first time since September proved crucial.

“Ashley’s been a breath of fresh air – and I knew he would be,” said Warnock. “I told him I didn’t want to play him for a couple of weeks, but in the end, I had to say to him, ‘Look, needs must. You’re the only one to me at the moment who can play as a target man and bring other people in’.

“I thought he did ever so well to last as long as he did. The same was true of Grant Hall, and we gave them both a round of applause in the dressing room afterwards.”