Swansea City v Middlesbrough: Jonathan Woodgate grateful for support of Steve Gibson

GIVEN Middlesbrough’s fortunes in a difficult season, it may come as a surprise that envious glances have been made towards Jonathan Woodgate from rival managers.

Middlesbrough's Jonathan Woodgate: Backed.

The Boro head coach knows one key reason why – and it is all to do with the man in charge.

Chairman Steve Gibson’s support for Woodgate in his first senior role in the dug-out has remained unstinting in hard times.

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It is all the more admirable given a recent 10-match winless sequence which saw agitation raise among some supporters amid speculation that the rookie could be replaced.

Yet it represented background noise only and that is something that Woodgate is eternally grateful for.

He said: “I was with him (Gibson) on Thursday night and he was absolutely fantastic.

“That is a real positive, like he has been for every manager at the football club.

“Here is someone who stands by you through tough times. I am lucky to have a chairman like Steve Gibson who gives managers time.

“It is good that I have got a British chairman who knows the club inside out and to whom it means everything.

“There will be a lot of managers out there jealous that I have a chairman like him, I am sure.”

It is a measure of Boro’s incremental improvement that their form heading into today’s game is a touch better than a Swansea side who looked cast-iron play-off contenders in early season, although their momentum has dipped of late.

Not that Woodgate is taking anything for granted, with Boro having not won on the road since the last day of the 2018-19 campaign in a 2-1 victory at Rotherham.

The Boro chief, whose side have lost once in their past six games, said: “They will be thinking they can beat us and we will be thinking we can beat them.

“But you know what it is like in the Championship; you need to turn up. If you don’t, you get beaten. It cannot be the toss of a coin.

“At the minute, my team are turning up and giving me everything, so I am pleased about that.”