NEIL WARNOCK claims he would not have agreed to return to management at this stage of the season for anyone other than Steve Gibson.

Warnock has been appointed as Middlesbrough’s new manager for the remaining eight games of the season, replacing Jonathan Woodgate, who was dismissed earlier this morning.

The 71-year-old has been out of work since leaving Cardiff City last November, but drive from his home in the south to discuss taking over on Teesside yesterday.

He will be accompanied by long-term associates Kevin Blackwell and Ronnie Jepson, and claims Gibson’s lofty reputation in football is the main reason he agreed to step in.

Speaking in an interview with talkSPORT, he said: “I’ve always had a lot of respect for Steve, it was a no brainer when he asked me to come and help out.

“It's all about safety. There are some big teams down there, it's a difficult league and there's no divine right. You don't get an easy game. It's just about giving the lads a bit of confidence and trying to get a result.

“At my age, you don't look too far ahead. I don't think I would have driven up this far for anybody else to be honest. Steve has always been high on my thoughts and I thought if I could help I would do.

“I hadn't thought about it until last night to be honest. Sharon (Warnock's wife) was okay with me coming up. I was a bit dubious when she closed the door so quickly!”

Woodgate will be offered a position to remain on Boro’s staff at Rockliffe Park, and Warnock expects him to have learned a great deal from his first 12 months in management.

He said: “I don't know the ins and outs. He (Gibson) asked me to come up and asked if I would help until end of season.

“Jonathan will have learnt an awful lot. He's a sensible lad and he'll have learnt a lot, that's how you get your experience.”

Warnock now has eight games in which to safeguard Boro’s Championship status. The Teessiders are currently level on points with the relegation zone following Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Swansea City.

Warnock said: “It's just a change of voice at this stage and we have just got to try to get the right results to make sure the club stabilises itself and stays in the division, that's all.

"Good habits., I always expect my players to give me everything and there won't be many problems with me, I don't think. A lot of things are said about me but most of it is not true, I just have to smile and get on with it.”