Paolo Di Canio in frame after Reading sack Brian McDermott
Former Arsenal player McDermott took Reading into the Premier League - but it wasn't enough
THE HUNT is on for a new manager of Reading after the club sacked Brian McDermott yesterday evening. The 51-year-old guided the Royals to the Premier League last season, only the second time in their history the club has reached the top flight, but they've been stuck in the relegation zone ever since.
Reading released a statement thanking McDermott for his efforts and declaring that "the search for a successor starts immediately. It is hoped a new manager will be in place as soon as possible."
The bookies have already installed former Southampton manager Nigel Adkins as a contender to take over at the Madejski Stadium while the Daily Mirror tips ex-Swindon boss Paolo Di Canio. The paper reports that the Italian was at Reading's 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa at the weekend and has already "had talks" with the club's board.
In the meantime, Reading's youth academy boss Eamonn Dolan is in charge of the first team.
McDermott, a one-time Arsenal player, joined Reading in 2000 as a coach working under Alan Pardew and Steve Coppell, and gradually worked his way up to become caretaker manager in 2009 following the sacking of Brendan Rodgers. The appointment was confirmed the following year and in 2011-12 Reading won the Championship title, and with it promotion to the Premier League.
That triumph coincided with the arrival at Reading of Russian tycoon Anton Zingarevich, who bought a 51% stake in the club and reshuffled the boardroom in a bid to ensure the Royals stayed in the Premier League.
But despite a purple patch in January, when the club won four successive matches and McDermott was named Manager of the Month, Reading remain rooted in the relegation zone.
News of the sacking stunned Reading's players, with striker Noel Hunt taking to Twitter to pay tribute to his former boss. "Want to say thanks to Brian for everything he did for me especially. He's been a great manager, man and friend to me and will be missed!"
Jason Roberts said he was "in shock", telling the BBC: "With nine games to go we still have an opportunity and it's now time to take stock. As a player we have to just get behind the new manager, we all want the same thing - to stay in the Premier League." ·