JONATHAN WOODGATE has been assured that his job as Middlesbrough head coach is not at risk despite this week’s speculation that Neil Warnock was being lined up as a possible successor.

Last week’s 4-0 defeat at Leeds United left Boro one point clear of the Championship relegation zone, and piled further pressure on Woodgate, who has guided his side to just three victories from their 19 league games this season.

There has been mounting speculation that Gibson could seek to make a managerial change, but the Boro owner has personally assured Woodgate that he is not looking to dismiss him after just six months in his post.

“I’ve spoken to the owner, and he’s really behind me,” said Woodgate, whose side are at home to Charlton Athletic tomorrow. “He’s really focused on the job in hand. Results needs to be a lot better than they are, but he’s right behind me.

“I definitely think he understands the situation. If you look at the squad, it’s really unbalanced and thin, and I’m sure he understands that. But we have to fit in amongst the FFP rules. It has been tough, I’m not going to lie. It’s tough at the minute, but it will get better.”

As well as retaining Gibson’s backing, the Middlesbrough fans in the stand have remained broadly supportive of their former skipper, something that has prevented the prevailing atmosphere around from the club from becoming toxic.

“I think the supporters know as well,” said Woodgate. “They can see it. They’re not stupid. They can see it, and they’ve been really good and positive away from home and at home.

“It’s important the fans stay on board and stay with it. They can see it’s tough, but that’s when you need your fans right behind you. They get anxious and that’s understandable, but they are a really good set of fans.”

Boro’s injury problems show no sign of clearing, with Anfernee Dijksteel having been ruled out for three months after injuring his knee.

Darren Randolph and Ryan Shotton both face another month on the sidelines with their respective injury concerns, while George Friend will be sidelined until at least February.

Paddy McNair and Marvin Johnson are suspended for tomorrow’s game with Charlton, but Britt Assombalonga will be available and Marcus Browne and Rudy Gestede have both returned to training.