WHEN Leo Percovich comes to mind, Middlesbrough fans will poignantly think of the chest beating passionate coach who wears his heart on his sleeve, has been through thick and thin at the club and has an intimate relationship with the fanbase.

There wouldn’t be many better people to lean on for advice or words of encouragement at the club and manager Chris Wilder has revealed how the Uruguayan recently conveyed a message of reassurance following their 4-1 defeat to Preston North End that he will remember for some time.

Percovich has been at the club since the days of Aitor Karanka and was part of the coaching staff that secured promotion to the Premier League in 2016. After a brief absence, Leo returned to the club in 2019 under the stewardship of Jonathan Woodgate and has remained at the club ever since.

As well as forging a long lasting bond with the fan base, he is a current member of Wilder’s backroom staff and looks set to remain at the club after the Boro boss made recent changes by parting ways with goalkeeping coach Ian Bennett.

He is clearly a valued member of the backroom staff and will continue to assist the management team.

Wilder revealed how Percovich conveyed a message of motivation after the game at Deepdale. “There was a humbling thing that Leo said to me after the Preston game” he said.

“I think we all know the connection that Leo has with this football club and how much the supporters trust him, and the relationship he has with them. Leo is a professional and works very hard.

“One of the best things anybody’s said to me came from him there at the end. He said to me, ‘this support trusts you and trusts the staff’.

“Now I’ve got to repay them and do the work to get it where it needs to be, so that coming here today we don’t have a possibility of getting in it’s a probability (of getting into the play-offs)."

Over 5,000 Boro fans adorned Percovich and Wilder as they showed their appreciation of support after the game.

Whilst it was a message of encouragement to the Boro boss, Wilder doesn’t seem to have needed much as he has wasted no time in getting to work on his ‘big rebuild’ at the club.

Sol Bamba, Neil Taylor and Lee Peltier have all been released while captain Jonny Howson has been offered a contract. Wilder has also been in contact with potential targets as he looks to orchestrate deals ahead of time.