JONATHAN WOODGATE has this afternoon vowed to keep on fighting for as long as he feels can as Middlesbrough’s head coach.

The Boro boss has seen pressure grow on his shoulders after a run of nine Championship matches without a win has left them hovering above the relegation zone.

After all three sides – Luton Town, Barnsley and Wigan - below Middlesbrough collected much-needed victories this week, the 1-0 defeat at the Riverside Stadium has left Woodgate’s men only sitting out of the drop zone on goal difference.

But the Middlesbrough boss, speaking ahead of Monday’s visit of Nottingham Forest to Teesside, is in no mood to turn his back on his hometown club just yet and is desperate to keep them in the Championship in his first season in charge.

“I keep on fighting and if I thought the time was right to walk away I’d walk away but the time isn’t right. Without a shadow of a doubt I’ll keep on fighting right until the end,” said Woodgate.

“There are 11 games to go and we need to get out of this situation, we’ve done it before when we were in the relegation zone and my players can do it again.”

Leeds’ victory on Wednesday night arrived despite an improved display from Middlesbrough following the woeful showings against Barnsley and Luton.

He said: “The buck stops with me, I am the manager, I take the pressure. I will take anything people throw at me. I will be the one who takes it on the chin.

“I will try to take the pressure off the players. There are 11 games to go and hopefully we will win those. There is pressure. As soon as I got this job there was pressure. I can handle it.

“Everything is possible, I don’t envisage us going down at the minute, we have 11 games, big games, I don’t see us going down, I see us getting victories.”

Middlesbrough will be assessing striker Ashley Fletcher and defender George Friend ahead of the Forest test after both had to be replaced with hamstring problems against Leeds.

“The performance was a lot better compared to what it was like against Luton and Barnsley,” said Woodgate, whose side could be in the bottom three by the time they next play if results go against them.

“A million times better. At the top end we need to produce more quality. That will get there.

“What we are pleased about is we matched them for 90 minutes, the fans could see that. The result was disappointing but it was improvement.

“You try to concentrate on ourselves, that’s the focus. We try to do the right things and hopefully things will turn for us. Let’s see where we are on Monday.”