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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Southgate ready to hear his managerial fate

Gareth Southgate will head for work tomorrow hopeful of gaining the reprieve which will allow him to continue as Middlesbrough manager.

The 36-year-old's three-month dispensation to continue without the UEFA Pro Licence officially ended on Sunday, and the Premier League Board will discuss Boro's application to extend that to the end of the season tomorrow.

Discussions between the club, league officials and the Football Association have been ongoing ever since the former England defender was appointed as Steve McClaren's successor in June, Southgate's lack of formal qualifications meaning he does not meet the necessary requirements.

He is studying for his B Licence and hopes to begin his A Licence in January before enrolling on the Pro Licence course during the summer.

The Premier League amended its rules earlier this month to allow a manager who is in the process of gaining the Pro Licence to be in charge of a top-flight club, a change which brings it into line with the top European leagues.

Boro have remained confident throughout that there is a solution to the problem, and believe they have put persuasive arguments to those who will make the decision.

However, Southgate has simply got on with his job, all the time knowing the matter is out of his hands.

He said: 'That is how I have been since I got the job, really. I am just concentrating on that and everybody else is taking care of the other side of things.'

Saturday's 0-0 draw with Liverpool at the Riverside Stadium left Boro sitting 14th in the Premiership table ahead of Saturday's trip to Southgate's former club Aston Villa.

New Villa boss Martin O'Neill was on chairman Steve Gibson's shortlist as he looked for McClaren's replacement before coming to the realisation that Southgate was his man.

The rookie boss has endured a mixed start to his career but insists he is learning all the time.

However, four points from the last two games against West Ham and Liverpool, despite less than impressive performances, have demonstrated the spirit and resilience he has fostered, and £6million signing Robert Huth is convinced there is more to come.

He said: 'I think our position does not show our quality. But in this league you can win two games and make a big improvement in your position in the table.

'We are not worried. We genuinely believe we can beat any team. We have shown that already when we have played against the teams above us.'

Villa are unbeaten at home so far this season, while the Teessiders have taken just two points from the 18 they have contested, and Huth is aware they will provide a tough test.

He told the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette: 'Everybody is raving about Aston Villa. It will be an interesting game.

'Everybody is aware of our away record. It's very difficult to go away and get something.

'Once we get an away win, we will get more confidence. Every game in the Premiership you can win and you can also lose.'