CHRIS Wilder has shown an enormous amount of respect for the job Wayne Rooney is doing at Derby County as Middlesbrough prepare to face the in-form Rams tomorrow.

Rooney is in the midst of masterminding a odds-defying fight for Championship survival having suffered a 21 point deduction during the season. Two defeats in their last nine games have left the Rams just four points away from climbing out of the bottom three.

Had they not had their points deduction at the start of the season, Derby would be around mid-table in the second tier.

Despite the fact they sit second bottom, Boro and their manager know it’s not representative of their current position.

Rooney, who is England’s all time record goalscorer, has already helped Derby County to survival last season staying up on the last day of the season by a point. He is on course to doing the same this time around.

Wilder said: “I’ve got an enormous amount of respect for Wayne and for his attitude in going into coaching.

“It’s refreshing. He wants to work his way through and done an outstanding early part of his job. It’s certainly a great start for him relatively in terms of the situation that he’s having to deal with.

“If he has a long and distinguished career in football, he’ll look back at that as a really good experience. I’ve been through it twice and you learn from it, it makes you better. He’ll not want to deal with it every other season but every experience you go through can make you better at your job and he’s made a great start to his managerial career.”

There will have been a lot of tension for both managers to contend with heading into game due to Steve Gibson’s claim against Derby for breaking financial rules. However, on the eve of the game, Gibson and Rams Chairman Mel Morris have come to an agreement on a resolution that should take some of the sting out of the game.

The statement released earlier this afternoon claims that the details of the agreement won’t directly affect any potential sale of Derby with the threat of liquidation looming large.

Wilder has managed teams who are in financial strife. On a shoestring budget, he managed to get Oxford United promoted from the National League and Northampton promoted to League One.

He knows what Rooney and the players are going through with the Boro boss admiring the way they’ve not thrown in the towel and knows that Boro have to be at their best to get a result at the Riverside Stadium.

“From my experiences, there’s two ways you can go” added Wilder.

“You can stick a white flag up, look for loads of excuses or you can get on with the job in hand. I think my background was always going to be a latter.

“Not a lot of things change as well. Training ground is still there, coaches still there, there hotels are still there. I should imagine the support staff of the players are still there, players are still getting paid the wages on time I should imagine.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty around things but there is around football full stop. If you’re in it from 16 to 35, there’s always a certain amount of uncertainty. Obviously it’s at a different level and I’m not playing that down. For Wayne (Rooney) to come into management as he has done with Liam (Rosenior), who I know really well, has done a fabulous job.

“Academy is still there. It’s always produced some really good players. I think if you look at our academy and their academy, it’s been really productive. It gives a lot of them young players, that were expected to come through, an earlier opportunity than maybe they envisaged but they’ve still got to produce the goods. They’ve still got to be coached and put in the formation the right way and I’ve got to say, from a footballing point of view, it’s really impressive job that Liam and Wayne have done.

“I know a lot of the players as well. I knew Phil Jagielka before he went in January. I know Richard Stearman really well so they’ve got a nice balance.

“On the pitch, it’s another tough afternoon but expected.”

Boro go into the game level on points with sixth placed Nottingham Forest with a game in hand.

Martin Payero is unavailable after being stretchered off in their draw with QPR on Wednesday. The Argentine midfielder will have a scan on an ankle injury in due course.