By the time the squad depart for his first game at the helm the new manager will have had four sessions on the Rockliffe pitches with the players.

“We’ve put a few sessions on and they've taken things on board,” he said. 

“I do think they've enjoyed it. I know I have. I have missed this over the last few months and it's been nice for me to work with a new group.

“They've all responded really well. It’s disappointing when a manager leaves and the players have to take responsibility. I'm here because they haven't played as well as they can but we can’t dwell on that.

“They’ve been trying to impress, and it’s been good.

“I’ve already seen some good things and we’ve been trying to work on the pattern to give us an advantage.”

Stoke are 18th in the Championship – two points and three places ahead of Boro after a last-minute leveller from Nick Powell secured a point at Reading on their return to action last weekend.

“Stoke have a hell of a squad,” said Warnock. “They are like Middlesbrough and should be in the Premier League.

“It’s sad to see we’re both scrapping in the Championship, but we've just got to concentrate on ourselves.

“The main thing is that we play well and don't give them any presents. We have to make sure we’re solid and try and enjoy it.”

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First Team