MILLWALL boss Neil Harris has backed Jonathan Woodgate and Robbie Keane to be successes at Middlesbrough.
The pair were appointed manager and assistant manager respectively in the summer, but have had a tough start on Teeside.
Boro were in the relegation zone before their trip to Wigan midweek, before a 1-0 win. They were also humiliatingly knocked out of the EFL Cup on penalties by League Two Crewe.
It is Woodgate’s first senior management job after he was a coach at the club under Tony Pulis, who was sacked in May after missing out on the play-offs. Keane is also the assistant manager to Mick McCarthy with Ireland.
Harris believes the former Tottenham team-mates will get it right at the Riverside.
“I think it’s great that Steve [Gibson] has given the job to two young coaches,” Harris said. “Woody deserves his opportunity to manage and coach at that level. He’s learnt the last couple of years from Tony Pulis who would have been a great teacher for him.
“He needs to find his feet. I’ve watched some of the footage and he’s trying to evolve the team to have a more attacking threat. It was a defensive set-up under Tony. It takes time, we found that ourselves. We lost 4-0 at home to Coventry in the first home league game of our first season.
“It’s very difficult in the modern game to ask for patience, but ultimately as a new young manager you do need time. Modern-day society in general and football doesn’t usually allow you time for what you’re doing.
“There have been times I’ve had to ask for patience, even last season. I’m sure Woody and Robbie will do well there and go on to have long careers in managing and coaching.”
Meanwhile, Millwall are without Jed Wallace as he serves the second game of his three-match ban for his red card against Sheffield Wednesday last weekend. Jiri Skalak is set to miss the game after he damaged his ankle in the 4-0 defeat to Fulham on Wednesday.
Harris could freshen his side up for their sixth game already this month. Jayson Molumby is getting closer to full fitness and is expected to challenge for a first-team place this season.
Possible Millwall starting XI: 4-4-2: Bialkowski; Romeo, Pearce, Cooper, M Wallace; Thompson, Molumby, Leonard, Ferguson; Bradshaw, Smith.
Match odds: Middlesbrough 10/11 Draw 23/10 Millwall 11/4
Last season’s fixture: Middlesbrough 1-1 Millwall (Hugill 90 pen; Wallace 21).
Image: Millwall FC