Friday December 21st 2018

Daniel Ennis – Multimedia Sports Journalist

After the dismissal of Paul Clement, the Royals find themselves managerless and languishing in the relegation zone. With the busy festive period now very much underway, time is of the essence for the Reading hierarchy to make an appointment that will hopefully change fortunes around at the Madjeski.

Following a 2-0 home defeat to promotion candidates Sheffield United, Reading now sit third bottom on goal difference and one point behind Millwall in 21st. With five games coming up in the space of just over two weeks, including two massive away clashes to fellow strugglers Rotherham and Millwall, it is a necessity for the Berkshire club’s next appointment to be a well calculated one, if not then come the new year, Reading could find themselves cut a drift at the foot of the championship.

The early favourite to take the hot seat is ex Porto and current Guimaraes boss Luis Castro, whose odds have been slashed to 4/5 with Sky Bet. According to reports, football agent Kia Joorabchian has flown to Portugal for talks with the Portuguese about the possibility of becoming royal’s manager and is set to try and lure him away from his current position by offering a lucrative 11m euro salary package and for there to be funds available in January. However, given the fact Castro who speaks very little English only joined Guimaraes earlier this year and has impressed at the Northern Portugal outfit, it would require Reading paying up to a seven-figure sum to release him from his contract.

Former Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce is the 2nd favourite in the running to becoming no.1 at the Madjeski stadium with the bookies placing Bruce at 10/3. Bolton’s current manager and a man all too familiar with things at Reading FC, Phil Parkinson is also in contention with taking over the Berkshire club with bookmakers putting him at 14/1. Parkinson made over 360 appearances for Reading and is a cult hero down at the Madjeski so I’m sure many of the Royal’s faithful would be delighted his name is in the frame. However, Parkinson should think long and hard about whether moving down to the south would be a good idea if Reading did come calling, as there is a strong chance his legendary status could be jeopardised if he cannot manage to turn Reading’s fortunes around.

What is for definite is that whoever is chosen to take over the reins at Reading FC, they have a very challenging task on their hands in picking this team up and steering them in the right direction rather than towards the third tier of English football, a place Reading have not been since the spring of 2002.