JONATHAN WOODGATE has urged Middlesbrough’s supporters to stick with the team in his bid to get his hometown club climbing up the Championship table.

The Boro head coach, speaking at Rockliffe Park ahead of Saturday’s visit of West Brom to the Riverside, is desperate for an improved performance and result when they return to action after the international break.

Woodgate is looking to enjoy a third win since taking over and he wants to see Middlesbrough end a four-match run without a win, particularly after the horrible display at Birmingham before the break. That defeat at St Andrew’s has left Middlesbrough sitting just above the relegation zone before facing the league leaders this weekend.

“The fans will get frustrated, I can get frustrated, the real supporters will be here week in and week out. We need them at this difficult time. I am sure they will stay with us,” said Woodgate.

“It can take time, how much time do you get? We will keep on going, doing what we do, if you keep working hard, setting the right standards. The results will come. I know those players care about the club.

“I am a fan of the football club but when I am the manager I am the manager of the football club, we have to step away but we have to keep going to get this club going in the right direction. I have to lead with my head and not my heart. That’s the most important things.”

Woodgate confirmed that striker Rudy Gestede has picked up a hamstring injury and will be missing this weekend, while young full-back Hayden Coulson will make a return to action for the Under-23s against Reading at Bishop Auckland on Friday night.

He said: “George Friend will be out for three or four weeks. Hayden will play in the 23s on Friday night. Rudy has a slight hamstring issue which we are just getting to the bottom of.

“George is a leader. He is a fantastic lad, brings everyone together. I have waxed lyrical about him on many occasions. We do miss him. He has been part of the Boro team for six years, he still has a big future of this club. I want them, all back.”

Middlesbrough fans have been critical of the performance against Birmingham, which arrived six days after a poor display that also ended in defeat to Sheffield Wednesday at the Riverside. In between those, Woodgate was encouraged by aspects of a display that he described as “stopping the rot” that ended in a goalless draw with Preston.

That is why Middlesbrough could do with a lift when West Brom head to Teesside on Saturday and Woodgate has done everything he can over the international break to get his players right – and he has now challenged them to do the rest.

He said: “You can only give it as much as you have got, you can only try to push them in the right direction. It has to come from them. I have confident players in that dressing room who want to turn things around.

“We played well against Bristol City, Brentford, Preston, I know. I have good players in that dressing room. I still believe in every one of them because I can see them. They will turn it round. These people care. I work with them every day.

“I keep going back to trying to do the right things, the nitty gritty side of the game, doing the right things every day, day in and day out. We will do everything we can to beat West Brom on Saturday.”

Middlesbrough welcomed back Paddy McNair and George Saville after their appearances for Northern Ireland, which included a McNair double in a win in the Czech Republic. Goalkeeper Darren Randolph also made a stunning penalty save that was not enough for Ireland to beat Switzerland too.

Woodgate said: “Paddy hasn’t been short of confidence, he has been our outstanding player so I am not surprised by what he did. He has taken that form into the Northern Ireland games. I have watched both games and he has done terrific.

“George Saville did well in his first game against the Netherlands, played 30 the other night too. It should give you a boost. Their performances can help you when you come back to your club.

“We know we do need to do things better. I am not stupid we need to improve, that starts with me, I am at the top, that filters down to the coaches. But the buck stops with me.

“I have said you can’t get too high or too low. You need to realise what you need to improve on, examine everything going on.

“When you get beaten in different situations, people look at the little things. When you are doing well those little things don’t get brought up, as a manager you examine everything. Sometimes you can look too hard, sometimes you just have to make little adjustments.”