Warnock’s men have been handed an opening day trip to Watford before AFC Bournemouth head to the Riverside the following weekend for our first home game of the campaign.

Both sides were relegated from the Premier League last term – Bournemouth’s fate being sealed on the final day – and both have new managers at the helm. 

Watford have appointed Vladimir Ivić as the permanent successor to former Boro captain Nigel Pearson while Jason Tindall has replaced the long-serving Eddie Howe at the helm for the Cherries.

“It doesn’t get much tougher as a start does it?” said the Boro boss. “They are two good sides, and we’ve got to make sure we’re ready.

“They’ve both just come down and I’m sure they will lose a few players from last season, but they’ll also gain some as well so they’ll be strong.

“You look at it and say it’s as tough a start as you can have, but we all know what the Championship is like and every game is tough.

“I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully we’ll get a few more new signings in and we’ll be ready to go.”

Boro have a first pre-season game at Plymouth on Tuesday and follow that with a game against Newcastle at Rockliffe the following week. 

The Carabao Cup first round tie against Shrewsbury will be the first competitive game of the new season for Boro.