Paddy McNair is backing Neil Warnock’s promotion winning experiences to lift Boro towards a real Championship challenge this season.
The club’s manager has clocked up a record eight promotion successes and has already made it clear that he hasn’t come here to “finish halfway” with the aim being to aim high on his first full season at the helm.
“That’s exactly what you want to hear,” said McNair. “Every player wants to play in the Premier League.
“The main goal is to play in the Premier League and to have a man of that calibre in change with his experience we could have a real crack at that this year.”
Warnock’s troops were in Cornwall last week for the manager’s tried and tested pre-season trip. There were two useful workouts against Plymouth Argyle and the traditional BBQ afternoon, where the manager plays mein host.
“I really enjoyed the week away,” said McNair. “We had two good games, it’s been a good squad building trip and all the lads have really enjoyed it.
“We went to the manager’s house and had a BBQ which was really nice. Some of the lads played a bit of a golf and went fishing and it was a really good.
“He’s been down here since 1995 and it’s nice to come down and see what is a lovely area. It’s been a really enjoyable week.”
Friday’s training session will be the last time McNair and his Northern Ireland team-mate George Saville wear a Boro badge now, until the eve of our first game of the Championship season, at Watford on Friday September 11.
The pair both headed off to join up with their country ahead of a Nations League double-header weekend against Romania (Friday) and Norway (Monday).
The games will mark Ian Baraclough’s bow as manager, he took over from Michael O’Neil, who is now at Stoke, and will also be a key part of the preparation for Northern Ireland’s delayed Euro 2020 play-off clash with Bosnia.
“Our last game was back in November so it seems like a lifetime ago since I’ve pulled on the green shirt,” said McNair.
“It’s nice to be called up again and I’m looking forward to the two games. It feels like we’ve been waiting for years for the play-off game.
“It’s good we have to two games before that. The Nations League is important, but it’s a good way to prepare for Bosnia.”
McNair and Saville will miss Boro’s Carabao Cup opener against Shrewsbury before returning in time for the Watford trip.
“It’s strange how it’s worked out,” said McNair. “It’s not ideal, but that’s how football works.
“I’m looking forward to going away for the two games, then back for our first league game of the season.”