Reading have picked up their form since Mark Bowen has come into the club, and are now pushing for a top-half finish before the season is out.
The Royals recorded an excellent victory on Saturday as they beat Birmingham City 3-1 away from home, and did so after going a goal down in the first-half of the fixture.
It was a sign of how much the Royals have grown as a team since Bowen came into the club, and the away form since the Welshman has come into Reading has been much improved with the side recording victories at sides in the top six such as Preston North End and Fulham.
At the time Bowen took over, it was a decision that left a lot of the Reading fanbase rather perplexed, and at the time made the sacking of Jose Gomes a tough pill to swallow for a lot of the Royals faithful.
His time in Berkshire started off as a sporting director, where he had various forms of communication with players and staff as he tried to help off the pitch. Having clearly impressed, Bowen was offered the managerial role, soon after Gomes was sacked, by the Reading owners.
The start he had at the club was one that not many could see coming, in his first game his side scored a 96th minute winner against a promotion-chasing Preston side before his team travelled to Queens Park Rangers and earned a superb point in a game that was played out on Sky Sports to the nation.
It was an encouraging few months for Reading, and over Christmas it appeared as though Bowen had found a team he felt could compete in the top-half of the table. The Royals won four matches in a row, although were then halted by an injury to Lucas Joao which meant they had to change their tactical system around.
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Since Joao’s injury the Royals have fluctuated in the league, but in recent weeks it appears as though Reading are back on the up with encouraging victories against Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley and Birmingham.
There’s a number of supporters still questioning the boss, and there are reasons behind that due to several poor performances which have been anomalies in the season. The Royals were smashed by Wigan Athletic at the Madejski Stadium as the relegation threatened side put three past Bowen’s squad.
It’s an interesting debate, and one that given his current record doesn’t warrant a discussion. Since Bowen joined the defence has tightened up and they are in the top six in the division for goals conceded in the league, as well as being in the play-offs based on results since he came into the club.
The long-term future is always a massive topic at any football club, and it’s no different at Reading. The questions that are being asked currently surrounding Bowen, is whether he’s the man to take them forward in both style of play and to build a side that is capable of earning promotion and then competing in the Premier League.
These questions should not be asked right now, and Reading should be delighted with the progress that is being made on the pitch. The Royals are set to achieve their highest finish since the 2016/17 season and alongside this, they sit seventh in the away table which is a part of their game that they have continuously struggled with in previous campaigns.
The bottom-line is, Bowen’s future at the club is there for all to see and the supporters should now get behind him and enjoy the results that he’s bringing to Reading week in, week out.