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Struggling Middlesbrough target Hiddink after Karanka's departure

By Damian Spellman

Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson could turn to a proven firefighter as he plots the way forward after the departure of head coach Aitor Karanka.

Boro announced that the 43-year-old Spaniard had left yesterday with Boro sitting in 19th place in the Premier League table, without a win since December and three points shy of safety with just 11 games remaining.

Enquiries have been made about the availability of hugely experienced Dutchman Guus Hiddink, although the noises coming from his camp were less than encouraging.

Assistant Steve Agnew has been placed in charge ahead of Sunday's clash at home to Manchester United.

Karanka said: "I'd like to thank Middlesbrough for a wonderful opportunity and the players, staff and all the people at the club who I have worked with. I'd also like to thank the fans for their support."

It seems likely that whoever does take the job - Nigel Pearson, Steve McClaren and Alan Pardew feature in the early list of candidates - will have to work as a head coach.

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