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1 winner and 1 loser from Bowen’s appointment at Reading

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Reading appointed their Sporting Director Mark Bowen as their new manager this week, after Jose Manuel Gomes departed last week.

Mark Bowen, famously number two to Mark Hughes at the likes of Manchester City, QPR, Fulham, Stoke and Southampton, will get his first taste of first-team management when his new side host Preston at the weekend.

The club are 22nd in the Championship after a 1-0 loss at Bristol City last time out – Gomes’ final game in charge after what’s been an uninspiring season from the Royals.

Gomes’ dismissal was widely expected during this international break, with the club keen to appoint a replacement before the break ends this weekend.

Bowen’s appointment has been met with criticism from Reading fans, who feel that the man has appointed himself in place of someone who has first-team credentials.

But he’s the manager none-the-less and the players will be looking to impress ahead of the Preston fixture. Here we take a look at one winner and one loser from Bowen’s appointment:

Winner: Chris Gunter

Whoever it was that replaced Gomes, it was expected that outcast Chris Gunter would make a return to action.

Gunter has been with the club since joining from Nottingham Forest in 2012, making over 250 appearances for the club.

But he’s only played a minute of first-team football this season – as a late substitute for Wales against Belarus, with Gomes demoting him to Reading’s Under-23 side.

Bowen as expected, though, has stated that he has plans for Gunter to return to the first-team.

He’ll be looking towards his experience in dragging Reading out of the relegation zone, but some fans feel that Gunter is no longer the best right-back at the club – Andy Yiadom has been the regular in that spot this season.

Loser: Lucas Joao

Gomes signed the Portuguese forward from Sheffield Wednesday in the summer for an undisclosed fee.

He scored a 97th-minute winner for Wednesday in their opening day victory over the Royals, before joining them a few days later.

Reading fans were excited to see Joao on their team and after he scored on his debut against Hull, it looked like good business for Reading.

But Joao hasn’t scored since, and saw himself on the bench for Gomes’ last few games in charge.

Yakou Meite and George Puscas are Reading’s main two up-front now, and Joao also has Garath McCleary to contend with – he’s also due to return to the first-team after being exiled by Gomes – as well as Sam Baldock.

Joao’s been an inconsistent talent since arriving in England with Wednesday in 2015. He’s falling further down the pecking order at Reading, and could well be an outcast himself in the run-in to the New Year.

Will Reading be relegated from the Championship this season?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Freelance football journalist based in Sheffield. Postgraduate degree in Sports Journalism, and good experience in digital football writing and match reporting.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: 1 winner and 1 loser from Bowen’s appointment at Reading

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