Aitor Karanka believes Craig Hignett is ready for management and says his first job is to restore “confidence and belief” at Hartlepool United.
Hignett has been tasked with guiding a struggling Pools side, currently third bottom in League Two, to safety.
And the Middlesbrough boss has revealed Pools could benefit from taking some of Boro’s promising youngsters on loan.
“The first thing is to try to recover the confidence and belief,” said Karanka.
“When I came here we weren’t in that position but we were close and the main thing was to recover then and to transmit your confidence.
“That’s the main thing when the players go to the pitch and they perform well.”
I think he is ready, he knows the club and that’s important.Aitor Karanka, Boro manager
Hignett worked under the Spaniard at Boro before his spell as No 2 ended on a sour note after a falling-out between the pair. But Karanka has backed Hignett to be a success.
He added: “I think as a person, as a footballer, sometimes you’ve played professional football you know the rules of the changing room, you can manage players, and then you have the ability to try to pick the best players, the way to train.
“Craig has experience with me, with Colin [Cooper] at Hartlepool, so it’s a mixture of everything.
“He was with us for almost a year and I wish him all the best. I think he is ready, he knows the club and that’s important.
“He was there as assistant to Colin. He has done different roles in football, so I wish him all the best.”
And could Hignett take some Boro players on loan? Karanka added: “Maybe, yes.
“When Colin was there, we sent a few players as we had a good connection and when you work in the same style, it’s better for the kids, for Hartlepool and for us.”
The Boro chief made the leap from being Jose Mourinho’s No 2 at Real Madrid to taking the reins at the Riverside – and he says self-belief is key.
Karanka added: “I think always when you’re an assistant you’re thinking about being a No 1 one day as it’s the next step, but it’s true that to take that step you have to be really sure.
“For example, I’d been working with Jose for three years and it was in the third season that I knew I could be a coach. I was sure I could do it – you have to trust yourself.”