Former Middlesbrough midfielder Jonathan Greening says that the lack of money available to manager Jonathan Woodgate is making his time in charge of the north-east club even harder.
Woodgate has endured a difficult debut campaign in the dugout at the Riverside Stadium, with ‘Boro currently 19th in the Championship table, three points clear of the relegation zone with nine games of the current campaign still to be played.
Greening, however, is still holding out hope that Woodgate can yet prove successful during his time in charge at the duo’s former club.
Speaking exclusively to 888sport about Woodagte’s time in charge of ‘Boro so far, Greening said: “It’s a tough one. I know Woody quite well because we used to play against each other in youth teams and he’s a top lad. I hope he does really well.
“I went up there around Christmas and they were playing really well and on a mini-run. But since then they’ve just kept on losing games and they’re right down there in the relegation zone.”
Discussing one reason behind Woodgate’s struggle this season, the 41-year-old – who made 109 appearances for ‘Boro between 2001 and 2004 – continued: “It’s hard because he’s got no money to spend. He’s been told they have to get rid of some big earners and obviously Randolph has gone to West Ham. He’s going to have to get rid of Britt (Assombalonga) in the summer.”
Looking at what the future might have in store for Woodgate at ‘Boro, it seems Greening is still cautiously optimistic about the former England international’s chances, as he concluded: “It’s going to be difficult for him but Steve Gibson has come out and given his support and as an ex-Middlesbrough player I just want them to stay in the Championship.
“Like Sunderland it’s not good to see big clubs go down to League One and hopefully Middlesbrough can hang on in there and rebuild over the summer. Then Jonathan can take them to the next level.”
I do think Greening has a point here.
There can be no denying that this has been a disappointing season for Woodgate and Middlesbrough so far, especially when you look at the expectation there will have been on them after only narrowly missing out on a place in the play-offs during the last campaign.
However, Greening is right to point out that Woodgate hasn’t exactly been helped by the lack of money available to him, when you consider they have made just a handful of signings in either transfer window this season.
That is something that would be hard for an experienced manager to deal with, let alone a comparative novice such as Woodgate, meaning it should be something of a feather in his cap if he is able to guide ‘Boro to safety this season.
Read the full 888sport interview with Jonathan Greening, including his thoughts on why the Boro’s Carling Cup success was the best and worst day of his life