Jonathan Woodgate in frame to replace Tony Pulis at Middlesbrough

IN THE FRAME: Jonathan Woodgate, left, is among the front-runners to replace Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis, right. Picture: PA
IN THE FRAME: Jonathan Woodgate, left, is among the front-runners to replace Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis, right. Picture: PA
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Middlesbrough are looking for a new manager after deciding not to renew Tony Pulis’s contract after failing to win promotion back to the Premier League.

The Teessiders announced that they had parted company with the 61-year-old, whose existing deal was due to expire on June 30, less than a fortnight after finishing in seventh place in the Championship and missing out on the play-offs.

I’d like to thank Tony for his hard work and commitment over the past 18 months. He has been a joy to work with and a complete gentleman.

Middlesbrough owner Steve Gibson

His departure comes as no surprise with the club’s fans having voiced their disapproval of his style of play, and Pulis hinted that his days might be numbered.

Boro were in contention for one of the automatic promotion spots for long periods but a run of six successive defeats in March and April saw them slide down the table and they finished seventh as Derby pipped them to the final play-off berth.

Pulis was drafted in by chairman Steve Gibson in December, 2017 after the dismissal of Garry Monk, who had been allowed to invest heavily in the likes of £15m striker Britt Assombalonga, Martin Braithwaite, Darren Randolph and Ashley Fletcher.

Pulis was charged with the task of taking the club back into the top flight after their return had lasted just a single season, and although he failed – Boro losing to Aston Villa in last season’s play-off semi-finals – he leaves with the best wishes of Gibson.

“I’d like to thank Tony for his hard work and commitment over the past 18 months. He has been a joy to work with and a complete gentleman. Two years ago, we invested heavily in the squad in terms of transfer fees and salaries in an attempt to regain our Premier League status. This happened before Tony’s arrival.

“Over the past 18 months, Tony has been proactive, not only in the ambition to win football matches and promotion to the Premier League, but also in addressing our financial position in order to comply and respect the Championship Fair Play criteria.

“He has ensured that the club is stable and strong for the future. He leaves us in excellent condition. Tony’s backing of our Academy has seen many youngsters make their first-team debuts. I am sure that Dael Fry, Lewis Wing, Marcus Tavernier, and Nathan Wood will be grateful for the faith he has shown in them.

“I’m sorry to see Tony leave, but our friendship and my gratitude will remain. Tony and his family will always be welcome at Middlesbrough Football Club.”

Boro’s parachute payments following relegation have now stopped, and they could adopt a more radical approach as they look for a replacement with former England defender Jonathan Woodgate, currently first-team coach at the Riverside, among the front-runners.