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Neil Warnock wants Duncan Watmore to extend stay with Middlesbrough

Huddersfield Town v Middlesbrough – Sky Bet Championship – John Smith’s Stadium
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Neil Warnock has revealed he wants two-goal hero Duncan Watmore to stay after Middlesbrough returned to winning ways with a 3-0 victory over Millwall.

Watmore, who signed on a free less than a month ago following his Sunderland exit in the summer, scored a brace for the second time in 10 days either side of Marcus Tavernier’s 15th-minute curler.

The former Black Cats forward, whose career has been blighted by a series of injuries, showed his predatory instincts with a goal in the 14th and 20th minute to seal the points for Middlesbrough.

The 26-year-old has clearly impressed Warnock, but the Boro boss was even more impressed with his team’s display following back-to-back defeats to Preston and Stoke.

Warnock, who knows Watmore has a short-term contract until mid-January, said: “Duncan took his goals well, his second was a typical poacher’s goal. He was in the right place.

“We have to agree financially, but I have already told him I want to keep him on; if he wants to stay. The club suits him and he suits the club. I think I can get the best out of him to be honest.”

Warnock added: “You get what you see from us, we are going to be up and down. The average age was 25 out there, that’s the youngest I have ever had.

“I was worried beforehand to be honest because we lost Jonny Howson and the defeat in midweek. We had to get a quick start and we did that. The way to play was to get one touch in their half and go. We did really well.

“The two midfield lads did really well, and the centre-backs, immense, Dael Fry and Paddy McNair. We kept a clean sheet as well they are difficult opponents.

“The Championship is a brutal league. It is a hard league. Millwall is not one of the highest wage bills, and we have the lowest number of players in a squad in the league. You have to keep going.”

Millwall boss Gary Rowett was clearly a lot less satisfied after his side’s winless run was extended to 10 matches.

The Lions were all over the place in the first half when a series of errors helped Middlesbrough take command and it could have been more.

There were also mistakes after the restart despite improvements and Rowett knows those standards cannot continue.

He said: “It was Mount Everest we had to climb after that seven minutes, pretty poor. We started lacklustre. We had an extra day’s recovery on Middlesbrough, we needed to make that count.

“But they started quicker, more aggressively, they won every tackle. That was the disappointing thing, the start was disappointing. We have lost a little bit of confidence in this run.

“For seven minutes we went from 0-0 to 3-0 down. If you do that in the Championship you will find it hard to win matches.

“It was very unlike what we have stood for. It was far too soft and for that seven minutes it was poor defensively.

“We spoke a lot about the game before, what was required, we knew we needed to match them. They do the basics really well and we knew what was coming.

“Today was one of the games we didn’t match the desire and fight, very disappointed. It was hard to watch that for 45 minutes.

“You always feel under pressure, that is the reality. It’s not really crossed my mind. I just want a team that performs to its maximum and it didn’t today.”