Neil Warnock is hoping for some good news from the Middlesbrough medics after Paddy McNair hobbled down the tunnel with a knee injury last night.

The Northern Ireland international was forced off during the second half of Boro’s 2-0 win over Preston at the Riverside – a victory that has kept hopes of a play-off place alive.

But McNair, a crucial component in Warnock’s way of playing, will have to be checked over on Wednesday to determine the extent of the problem ahead of Saturday’s trip to tenth-placed Millwall.

Warnock said: “It’s a funny one, it’s round the front of his kneecap. He knew straight away he’d have to come off. I haven’t spoken to the doc because I’ve had to do all the interviews. We’ll find out later.”

Middlesbrough claimed the points courtesy of an own goal from Jordan Storey in the 22nd minute and a Marcus Tavernier header five minutes after half-time.

The biggest drama was when Preston’s captain Alan Browne was sent off for reacting to Sam Morsy’s arm hitting him in the face nine minutes before the break.

Warnock said: “I’ll have to do an Arsene Wenger, It was the least of my worries at half-time and full time so I’ve not even seen it. I heard them complaining on the bench but the ref had a good view.”

But Preston boss Alex Neil, whose protests led to him being sent off at the break, said: “It’s an extremely poor decision. I have seen it back. Sam Morsy hits him with his forearm on the back of his head, he is right in front of them.”

Middlesbrough are, though, only bothered about the points and they are now five points shy of sixth spot.

Warnock said: “I don’t think we have much chance. The bookies wouldn’t have us going up.

“Barnsley play Wycombe on Wednesday night, you’d expect three points there. We have to keep winning and Millwall away is not an easy game. But two wins in four days, you can’t do any more.

“The hardest thing in football is to win two games on the trot in a short space of time.

“We had a bit of luck tonight, we haven’t had much in the last six months. In the second half, it’s difficult to play against ten men but we didn’t concede anything, the two centre-halves were magnificent.”