Middlesbrough head coach Jonathan Woodgate has been sacked and replaced by the vastly-experienced Neil Warnock as the club battles relegation from the Championship.

The Teessiders parted company with the former England international on Tuesday morning three days after a damaging 3-0 home defeat by Swansea.

That left them 21st in the table, outside the relegation zone on goal difference only, and with just six wins all season.

Former Boro defender Woodgate, who was already on the coaching staff at the cub's Rockliffe Park training headquarters, was handed the reins by chairman Steve Gibson in June last year after impressing during the interview process.

Woodgate, brother-in-law of Rovers midfielder Stewart Downing, was informed of the decision this  morning – with Warnock quickly installed as his replacement, four days out from their crunch Championship clash with Stoke City.

Warnock has been out of work since leaving Cardiff City in November, with Boro becoming his 15th different managerial role of a career which spans 34 years.

A club statement said: "MFC can confirm that head coach Jonathan Woodgate has been relieved of his duties with immediate effect.

"Jonathan was relieved of his role on Tuesday morning and will be replaced by the experienced Neil Warnock.

"Warnock will assume responsibility immediately.

"The club would like to place on record its thanks to Jonathan for all his work in the role of head coach."

Like Woodgate, Tony Mowbray also went from legend as a player to taking on the managerial position, spending three years in the Riverside dugout between 2010 and 2013.

And speaking of Woodgate ahead of their Ewood Park meeting last August, which Rovers went on to win 1-0, Mowbray said: “I support Woody as much as I can. Some people will say ‘Jonathan Woodgate, brilliant’ and others will be ‘well he’s never done it, it’s a gamble’. But you have to start somewhere and your career dictates it.

“Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney is tip-toeing in to it, he’s played for Real Madrid, got to a Champions League semi-final with Leeds United, played for Tottenham.

“Has he earned the right to have a go? I’d say so.

“I watched his interview after the Luton game (3-3 draw) and could see the rawness of the emotion. He just loves football.

“I just hope he feels like that in six months time, 12 months time, because he will have felt what it’s like to lose and to win, to draw, how the emotions can rip your life to bits or feel like king of the castle.

“You understand that you work hard so that success feeling, that victory feeling is something you feel a lot more than the desolation of defeat.”