Steve Agnew to hold press conference on Friday as Boro search for new head coach

17 March 2017

Steve Agnew will hold a press conference on Friday as Middlesbrough continue the search for a replacement for head coach Aitor Karanka.

Assistant Agnew was placed in charge of team affairs after the Spaniard's departure was announced on Thursday morning and will prepare the players for Sunday's Premier League clash with Manchester United at the Riverside Stadium.

He will do so with chairman Steve Gibson facing a big decision over whether to make a permanent appointment straight away, leave Agnew at the helm for the final 11 games of the campaign or install a firefighter in a bid to stave off relegation.

Former Boro skipper Nigel Pearson was swiftly installed as the bookmakers' favourite to succeed Karanka and while he has much in his favour, the manner of his own exits from Leicester and Derby may be of concern.

In addition, the club's parlous position - they are only three points from safety, but have not won in 10 league games and have scored only three goals during that period - hardly represents the most attractive proposition with any new head coach unlikely wanting to risk damaging his curriculum vitae by adding a relegation over which he had little influence.

In the circumstances, an interim appointment could prove to be the way forward and it is understood that Dutchman Guus Hiddink has been sounded out, although to a muted response.

There are several experienced managers currently available with former Boro boss Steve McClaren, another ex-England manager Roy Hodgson and Alan Pardew among them, but Boro seem likely to stick with the head coach model under which Karanka worked and that could prove an obstacle for some.

In the circumstances, Boro could look abroad once again for a man comfortable working under that kind of regime with Huddersfield's David Wagner, who is currently fighting for promotion to the top flight, having been touted as a potential candidate.

Karanka left Teesside insisting there were no hard feelings as his first foray into management in his own right drew to a disappointing close.

He said: "I'd like to thank Middlesbrough for a wonderful opportunity and the players, staff and all the people at the club who I have worked with. I'd also like to thank the fans for their support.

"This club will always hold a special place for me and I wish everyone connected with Middlesbrough Football Club the very best for the future."