MIDDLESBROUGH expect to make a managerial appointment in the next seven days, with Jonathan Woodgate having made the final shortlist of candidates to replace Tony Pulis.

Boro officials have spent the last week sounding out a number of potential options, and chairman Steve Gibson is set to spend the next few days pondering a final decision.

Woodgate is the sole internal candidate for the managerial role, and the former centre-half is understood to have conducted a formal interview in which he outlined his plans and ambitions.

The 39-year-old has extensive experience with Middlesbrough, both as a player and coach, and is keen to move into frontline management after assisting with first-team coaching duties under Pulis.

His lack of experience is a concern, but Gibson has not been afraid to promote coaches to their first managerial position in the past. Both Steve McClaren and Aitor Karanka took over on Teesside without having previously worked in a managerial role and enjoyed successful spells in charge of Boro.

Woodgate is a popular figure with Boro’s current first-team squad, and his elevation to the position of manager would be well received at the Rockliffe Park training ground. Middlesbrough’s supporters appear to be split, with some fans clamouring for a homegrown boss while others call for a change of direction.

A number of external candidates are still under consideration, with Slavisa Jokanovic having held formal talks with the Boro hierarchy.

The former Watford and Fulham boss boasts a proven track record in the Championship, having twice guided teams to promotion, but his financial demands remain a major issue.

Jokanovic would want to oversee a major overhaul of the current Boro squad, but having led criticisms of potential breaches of the Football League’s Financial Fair Play regulations in the last few months, Gibson is adamant that Boro will not be breaking or bending the rules.

The Boro chairman will instruct the club’s next manager to work within the strict financial parameters that are laid out by the EFL, and with no more parachute payments from the Premier League, that will limit a new boss’ room for manoeuvre in the transfer market this summer.

Jokanovic remains of interest, but the practicalities of a move for the Serbian, who is also interesting West Brom, remain difficult.

Daniel Stendel has been the springer in the bookmakers’ markets in the last few days, but senior sources insist Middlesbrough have not made contact with either the German or his current employers at Barnsley. Having won promotion to the Championship last season, Stendel is understood to be keen to negotiate a new deal at Oakwell.

Similarly, while there were suggestions Boro had spoken to John Terry at the end of last month, there has been no contact with the former England skipper or his representatives.

Mikel Arteta and Paul Heckingbottom have been considered, and the pair make appeal for differing reasons. Arteta excelled at the very highest level as a player, and has established a blossoming reputation as a coach thanks to his work with Manchester City. Heckingbottom’s playing career was much less successful than Arteta’s, but the 41-year-old boasts much more managerial experience, having won promotion from League One with Barnsley before moving on to Leeds United and now Hibernian.

Away from the search for a new manager, Enes Mahmutovic played for 45 minutes as Luxembourg warmed up for this weekend’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Lithuania with a 3-3 draw against Madagascar.

Marcus Tavernier will return to action with England Under-20s later today as they take on Portugal Under-19s in their second game of the Toulon Tournament.

Tavernier played the full 90 minutes at the weekend as the Young Lions kicked off their defence of the Toulon trophy with a defeat to Japan Under-22s.