Reading have today agreed a deal with their Sporting Director Mark Bowen to become the club’s new manager, after Jose Manuel Gomes was sacked by the club last week.
Gomes’ sacking was inevitable and many expected it to materialise in this international break.
He leaves with the club 22nd in the Championship after 11 games. A 1-0 loss at Bristol City last time out was their fifth loss in their last six Championship games, and Bowen will take charge for their home game against Preston this weekend.
It’ll be Bowen’s first taste of first-team management. He’s previously served as an assistant manager with the likes of the Welsh national team, Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham, QPR, Stoke City and Southampton.
He joined Reading in March of this year, initially as the club’s Technical Consultant. In August, he was promoted to Sporting Director.
The appointment is definitely a gamble, but Bowen will have a reasonable knowledge of the club and squad having been there for over half-a-year behind the scenes.
Here we take a look at two players who could benefit from Bowen’s appointment at Reading:
Given his managerial inexperience, it’s hard to speculate on what Bowen’s selection and style will entail.
One player he may well take his fancy against Preston this weekend is Chris Gunter. The Welsh international has only featured for his club’s Under-23 side this season, and has played just a single minute of first-team action this season as a late substitute for Wales.
He’s a veteran at Reading, having been with the club since joining from Nottingham Forest in 2012.
His exile from the squad this season is bizarre though. He was part of Gomes’ plans in the second-half of last season but this time around, has found himself a surplus to requirements.
His experience could prove pivotal for Bowen, who’s coming into a club in a sort of crisis at the wrong end of the Championship – Gunter has played over 200 games for the Berkshire club.
Charlie Adam is another experienced player who was forgotten by Gomes. He joined Reading on a free transfer in the summer after being released by Stoke City, but has so far made just three appearances in the Championship for his new suitor – all of them from the bench.
But Bowen could draw upon the experience of the 33-year-old Adam in the remainder of the season.
Adam scored 19 goals from midfield in Blackpool’s promotion season from the Championship under Ian Holloway in 2010, and 12 in his first season in the Premier League.
He then signed for Liverpool for a season until he was shipped out to Stoke, where he spent eight seasons until being released last summer.
Bowen may utilise Adam as he looks to guide his new club to safety this season, and his experience at this level could prove vital to Bowen’s debut season.