Chairman Steve Gibson is hoping Steve Agnew can make the Head Coach's position his own for the long-term after his step-up to take control of first team affairs.

Agnew, assistant Head Coach to Aitor Karanka, was given the opportunity to make the step up after the Spaniard parted company with the club this week.

Media speculation has linked a host of names to the club, but Agnew has full backing after stepping up to the role.

"Steve will have full autonomy as first team coach," said the chairman. "I hope he's here this time next year or the year after. 

"He has a lot of qualities. He is a very good coach, a deep thinker, loads of experience, knows this club, is a man of integrity and the players trust and like him. 

"I've known him a long, long time and he's a smashing lad. I think he can be the glue to unify us completely."

The chairman was also keen to pay tribute to departed Head Coach Karanka, who left on amicable terms by mutual consent. 

"It was a joint decision," said the chairman. 

"Like all clubs we monitor our progress, and we haven't evolved on the football side since we beat Swansea, and we discussed it internally. We all accepted there had to be changes. 

"Aitor has been tremendous for our club and has worked very hard. This is a tough business, we were under pressure trying to get up, and we had a tough summer trying to get players in. The season ended and Aitor never stopped. 

"We all accepted there had to be change. Aitor felt that change may be best implemented by others and we agreed mutually it was time to leave. He sacrificed himself for the club. 

"He's handled it with great dignity. He's a great guy and he's part of our history. He achieved something very difficult. 

"We are better because of him and I hope he is better because of the experience. We wish him all the very best. He deserves a good future in the game. 

"He took us from a club that was struggling in the Championship to the Premier League.

"He's a special guy and we will stay friends, our families will stay friends, and we will have a beer and have some dinner and we will always be friends."

With over a quarter of a season remaining, there's still plenty of time left for Boro to escape from the clutches of relegation.

"There's 11 games to go and the season starts now," said Gibson. 

"I think we will work hard, be fully committed and hope that the right decisions go our way.

"Hopefully injuries will go for us, and we'll get our fair share of luck. 

"I think the squad is good enough to stay up, but it has been a difficult period. Perhaps we are low on confidence and its Steve's job to raise that.

"I know the fans will get behind us and we'll all give it our best."

That run of games kicks off on Sunday when Manchester United visit the Riverside Stadium for a sell-out clash.

"Manchester United are a very good team but this bunch of players are determined and will work hard," added Gibson.

"That's why we are in the Premier play these teams. They are great days, you want these games week in week out. 

"That's what the fans want and it's why they pay their money and come to the games."