Blog: It's "Warnock time" for Middlesbrough as they chase promotion to the Premier League

Middlesbrough are over the top of the hill and down the other side in this Championship season. They either pick up pace now or get left behind for good. 

Last Saturday's win over Stoke was important and completely non-negotiable. They HAD to win that game, as Neil Warnock admitted afterwards. They probably have to win tonight's game at home to Preston as well, because time is running out and they're currently 8 points shy of the playoff places.

It's the point in the season where everyone starts dealing in absolutes. Back in September and October, it's fine for players, coaches and fans to talk about "encouraging performances", "heading in the right direction" and "process".

But there's no time, and no point, in any of that now. We're in the no-nonsense part of the season. Those who are going to achieve something get on and achieve it rather than talk about process.

Just win your games and leave the speeches to the also-rans. In other words, it's Warnock Time.

Neil Warnock last won promotion to the Premier League with Cardiff City Credit: Simon Galloway/PA Archive/PA Images

Boro's Head Coach is the ultimate no-nonsense guy. It's probably why he's got so many promotions and/or great escapes on his CV. He thrives when the springtime flowers are in bloom and the gloves are off.

So I think Middlesbrough still, just about, have a shot at this. But there's very little margin for error. There are ten games to go in the Championship season and, as mentioned earlier, Boro have 8 points to make up on sixth place. The good news is they've got the games to do it. The bad news is if it doesn't go well over the next 5 games, then the last 5 games probably aren't going to matter.

After Preston tonight it's Millwall away and then three games in a row against teams above them which will make-or-break Middlesbrough's season. Bournemouth away (Jonathan Woodgate narrative alert!), Watford at home, then Barnsley away.

After that, the last 5 games are all eminently winnable. 

So it's a long shot. But it's still on and it's Warnock Time.