ONE thing Middlesbrough have been throughout their search for a new new manager is patient.

Since Steve Gibson decided the time was right to confirm Tony Pulis’ contract was not going to be renewed two weeks ago, he has gone about assessing the credentials of the contenders to replace him.

It was always going to take time, given the high number of applicants, but as Middlesbrough head towards the week when a decision is likely to be made, it is worth considering the favourites for the post.

Michael Reiziger would have been many supporters’ choice having learned his coaching badges at Champions League semi-finalists Ajax, but he no longer looks in the frame after signing a deal to become the Dutch giants’ assistant manager.

It is also understood that John Terry, fresh from celebrating promotion as No 2 at Aston Villa, is not in the running, and neither is former Sunderland boss Simon Grayson. All three of those are still right in the mix if you ask the bookmakers, but club sources say no.

So who is left, with Gibson expected to have further talks with short-listed candidates in the coming days?

Jonathan Woodgate is firmly in the thinking after impressing in an initial interview. Here’s a look at some of the men in the frame.


The Northern Echo:

The softly-spoken Serbian won promotion to the Premier League with Watford and Fulham. He gets his teams playing attractive football and that is what the Boro fans crave after the disappointment of the Pulis era.

Jokanovic, 50, will have high wage demands and want a sizeable budget, however, which is believed to be one of the main reasons why he rejected an offer to take the reins at West Brom. He also side-stepped opportunities at Stoke and Nottingham Forest for the same reasons.

Odds: 11/10


The Northern Echo:

If you look back at the history books, Woodgate fits the Riverside bill. Gibson likes to provide a first managerial opening for someone, having done so with Bryan Robson, Steve McClaren, Gareth Southgate and Aitor Karanka.

So why not Woodgate? The 39-year-old was extremely highly-rated as a player, has the respect of the dressing room and is currently working through his coaching badges. He loves the club too.

Why not? Some fans would be underwhelmed by his appointment mainly because of his long association with the area and would prefer someone from outside with a fresh pair of eyes.

Odds: 5/2


The Northern Echo:

The Spaniard fancies a crack at front-line management but whether or not this summer is the time to spread his wings is up for debate. The 37-year-old, who would be another to be given his first manager’s job by Gibson, has spent the last three years learning from Pep Guardiola, so is sure to look to get his own team playing with style.

He will have contacts in England and abroad and was in the frame to take over Arsenal before Unai Emery was chosen instead. Whether Boro could tempt him to the Riverside, away from the Etihad, without having pots of cash would be in doubt.

Odds: 3/1


The Northern Echo:

Apparently he is prepared to wait for a Premier League offer, but where that will come from? It was a major surprise when he was sacked by Brighton after keeping them up for the second year in a row, and his stock his high … he could pick his next Championship club.

Boro would be daft not to have considered him, and he has worked in the North-East before when he led Newcastle to promotion. It is hard to find anyone who has a bad word to say about Hughton and the 60-year-old clearly knows what he is doing.

Odds: 20/1


The Northern Echo:

The 41-year-old knows all about the North-East, and Teesside, having played for Darlington, Hartlepool and Sunderland. He was firmly in the frame for the Sunderland job when Simon Grayson was appointed, and has ex-Boro defender Robbie Stockdale as his assistant at Hibernian.

Heckingbottom has enjoyed a good first season with Hibs and has been considered by a number of Championship clubs before, having guided Barnsley to promotion in 2016 playing attractive football.

Odds: 20/1