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Former Middlesbrough defender could return as manager after Monk axe

Carlos Carvalhal and Garry Monk at Hillsborough on Saturday.
Carlos Carvalhal and Garry Monk at Hillsborough on Saturday.

Former Middlesbrough defender Nigel Pearson is amongst the bookies’ favourites to take over as the club’s new manager.

Boro parted company with Garry Monk on Saturday, just hours after he had appeared to have bought himself some more time with a 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday.

The former Swansea and Leeds boss had been under pressure following a run containing four defeats in six games.

However, he left his job just hours after Saturday’s victory, becoming Middlesbrough’s shortest-serving manager.

Pearson was a decorated player at Boro, pulling on the red shirt for four years in the 1990s.

He captained them to two promotions to the Premier League and also led them out in three domestic cup finals.

He also has experience of managing teams to promotion to the top flight, having taken Leicester to the Premier League.

He was interviewed for the role when Monk was appointed and is currently working for OH Leuven in Belgium.

Other contenders include Tony Pulis, who has been out of work since leaving West Brom in November, and Ryan Giggs who is hungry to get into management.

Former West Ham boss Slaven Bilic is an option, while former Boro boss Aitor Karanka - who only left the Riverside in March with Boro on the way to Premier League relegation - could also be in the running as Boro look to push for promotion in the second half of the season.

Monk left Boro just hours after hailing his side’s “best away performance of the season” after the 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday.

It was a result which also cost his rival manager his job too - Carlos Carvalhal suffering the axe on Christmas Eve after a run of seven games without a win.

Jonny Howson and Ryan Shotton overturned Ross Wallace’s first-half goal to earn a victory that looked to have eased the pressure on Monk.

After the game, Monk was looking to the future, unaware his tenure was about to end.

“That was our best away performance of the season and I thought it was a thoroughly deserved win. I thought we were excellent today,” he said.

“We answered a few questions that were thrown at us today and there are a few more to be answered.

“We have to build on this and use it as a springboard.”

Carvalhal, meawnhile, said the time was right to leave Sheffield Wednesday after a two-and-a-half-year stint at Hillsborough.

Carvalhal said: “The chairman and myself talked after the game and we believed this was the correct timing to make this decision.

“Of course, I am very sad at this moment because I have enjoyed my two seasons and a half so much with Sheffield Wednesday.

“We had two fantastic seasons and two play-offs on the row but unfortunately we have not managed to replicate these positions this season. Now is the time to focus on the wonderful experiences I have enjoyed at Sheffield Wednesday.”