CHERRIES chief executive Neill Blake heaped praise on new boss Jonathan Woodgate and said “stability” would be key for the club going forward.

The 41-year-old has agreed a deal to become the club’s permanent head coach until the end of the season.

The likes of Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and David Wagner were all linked with the position, which came available after Jason Tindall was sacked by the board earlier this month.

But club chief Blake insisted after an “extensive search” for a new manager, Woodgate emerged as the “best candidate” for the final 15 league fixtures of the Championship season.

Blake said: “Jonathan’s professionalism and leadership has impressed the board of directors since taking on the role of caretaker manager in difficult circumstances.

“The team’s performances and results have improved under his stewardship, and even our defeat at Queens Park Rangers on Saturday was a display which deserved a better result.

“As we head into a crucial part of the season, stability and clarity is of paramount importance for everyone at the club.

“With that in mind, and having concluded an extensive search for a new manager, we believe Jonathan is the best candidate to lead the team for the final 15 games of the season.”

Woodgate has sealed victories over Birmingham, Burnley and Rotherham during his time in charge at the club.

He has also recorded a 0-0 draw at Nottingham Forest. His first defeat came against QPR at Loftus Road on Saturday.