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Reading sack their manager and immediately appoint replacement until end of the season

Reading sack their manager Paul Ince and immediately appoint Noel Hunt as replacement until the end of the 2022/23 season.

Reading have fallen into the Championship relegation zone and are now in crisis, having gone eight games without a win under Ince.

The club was also docked six points for failing to comply with financial rules.

Reading suffered a 2-1 defeat at Preston North End on Easter Monday, and prior to that a 1-1 deadlock with Birmingham City on Good Friday, giving the board no choice but to discuss his future on Saturday.

CLUB STATEMENT:

Reading Football Club can confirm that the contract of first team manager Paul Ince has been terminated with immediate effect.

Ince was appointed initially on an interim basis with his assistant Alex Rae in February 2022 and, alongside the likes of Academy Manager Michael Gilkes and Under-18s manager Mikele Leigertwood in the dugout, he did an admirable job in helping the club stave off the threat of relegation with four wins from the final 14 fixtures last season.

Ince took the reins on a permanent basis in the summer and, having to cope with strict transfer embargo restrictions, he helped to piece together a new squad on a much-reduced wage budget – and with five wins from our first seven home games the season began brightly.

However, without a win in our last eight matches and with a relegation battle to fight following a six-point deduction imposed last week, owner Mr Dai Yongge has decided that a change is needed.

Assistant Manager Alex Rae has also departed the club.

Our Under-21s Manager and former Royals striker, Noel Hunt, has been installed as Interim First Team Manager until the end of the season.

Director of Player Development, Eddie Niedzwiecki, will be his Assistant Manager accompanied by First Team Coach James Oliver-Pearce – a management team who will take to the home dugout for the first time when we host league leaders Burnley at the Select Car Leasing Stadium on Saturday.

Head of Football Operations, Mark Bowen, said: “I would like to thank Paul and Alex for their efforts throughout what has admittedly been a frustrating and exceptionally challenging season so far. We would like to wish them well in their future endeavours.

“The board will work diligently to identify the manager who is the best fit for this football club going forward – a candidate capable of driving it towards a healthier, brighter future.

“However, for the next five games, our only focus is on doing everything we can to survive this season. Put simply, that means everyone – from myself, to the staff, to the supporters – lending all their support to Noel, Eddie, James and the first team players as we go into five crucially important games at the end of our 2022-23 campaign.”

Ince said after the loss at Preston: “It’s a tough one to take,” Ince began after seeing his side concede an injury time goal that denied them a point at Deepdale.

“We didn’t really lay a glove on them in the first half, we looked apprehensive, nervous at times, but went in at half-time, pretty comfortable.

“Our decision-making was poor, there was a lack of quality at times. And in the second half, we made the mistake of getting too tight and we’re 1-0 down.

“We hung in there, Joe made some important saves that kept us in the game – and once we’d got through that period, we score an equaliser with Kelvin scoring his first league goal.

“And at that stage you’re thinking we might be able to get the winner. So to lose it in injury time, and it’s a lesson we haven’t learned.

“It happened away at Sunderland and again at Cardiff – whether it’s lack of quality, or lack of concentration, we’ve lost too many points from goals conceded in the last minute.

“And that is the period in the game when you have to concentrate the hardest, make sure you don’t lose your focus. We didn’t do that.

“We slash at the ball to concede the corner, then we don’t deal with the first header, we don’t deal with the second header and we’ve lost a game we could have taken a point from.

“I think it comes down to mental toughness. When you’re in the situation that we’re in, when it comes to those crucial moments at the end of games, we’ve got to use our experience, we can’t panic, we’ve got to see out games.

“We’ve gone from a side sitting safe in the Championship to a team fighting for survival in the bottom three. That mindset has changed so quickly. And to lose a game like today’s in the last minute is demoralising.

“But we can’t be full of self-pity, we’ve got to try to keep this team in the league. And we’ve got so much fight in there.

“We’re out on our feet again today. And we’ve got Burnley on Saturday. But we’ve got to keep fighting. And we’ve got to pick up points.”

FAVOURITES TO BECOME NEW READING MANAGER

Karl Robinson – 5/4
Noel Hunt – 3/1
Nathan Jones – 10/1
John O’Shea – 14/1
Ian Evatt – 20/1
Neil Critchley – 20/1
Danny Cowley – 20/1
Leam Richardson – 20/1

This is what fans said as Reading sack their manager and immediately appoint a replacement until the end of the season…

@budgiek: Thanks to Paul and Alex for keeping us up last season but been clear for a while now that it just wasn’t working, personally think it’s too late and think we are as good as down looking at our next 3 games but hopefully everyone can now unite as a fan base behind Noel & the team

@JohnLawrence329: Welcome news, @Noelhunt20 the right man for the job ! 💙🤍⚽️ I have 💯 confidence that you will be able to turn this mess around !! C’mon URZ !! 💙🤍⚽️

@_Paddy_Smyth_: 🎉🎉🎉🎉 about 6 months too late but oh well

@MarkWatkinsDare: An appointment I can’t agree with. Ince has his critics but with so few games to go, moving the U21 manager up (who had hardly been in management, unlike Ince) is VERY disappointing.

@AndyRFCCharman: Should’ve happened weeks ago.

@edgar2_mckenzie: Now that Noel Hunt is in the driving seat would love to see Camara and Scott. Holzman and more of the youngsters involved seems that they’d do a better job then half of our senior team. We even saw Ebibotihman bag one yesterday #readingfc

@jacobitematt: Thank you for keeping us up last year. Hopefully the change can provide some sort of positive reaction and we stay up.

@exiled_royal: Should of happened 3 months ago in all honesty….but hopefully @Noelhunt20 can get us over the line. Supporters need to back him to the hilt. #Readingfc

@TalkReading: Ultimately, Paul Ince was the architect of his own downfall. Yes, the situation he was given was very difficult, but negative football, attitude in interviews and constantly throwing his players under the bus has led to his sacking. The right decision in the end. The Paul Ince era started so well, with incredible scenes over Easter keeping us up. This season got off to a great start going top of the league with a great home record. However, since the World Cup, Reading have regressed and things did not look like improving. #readingfc

@JamieCollis1995: Hallelujah! We might now actually have a chance of staying up! Never wanted Ince in the first place and he should of never been given the job on a permanent basis. #Readingfc

@DanFromTheDing_: Right decision but far too late. All we can do is get behind Noel Hunt and the boys now, all negativity stops until the end of the season, we got we wanted. 5 cup finals. #readingfc

@JH7123: Let’s all do the conga, Incey is a goner la la la la! #readingfc

@lines_aviation: 😍 Noel Hunt’s Barmy Army 😍 Eddie Niedzwiecki as assistant is potentially even more important, there’s enough experience to keep us up. Don’t think you will ever see a statement from a club that says so definitively the manager has been sacked against his will too. #Readingfc

@pattyiagolden: Thank fuck!! Partly feel for ince as the players have been shite too! But his lack of creativity and tactical ability has produced horrendous football to watch! A reading legend to save the club let’s hope so! 🙏🏻 #readingfc 🔵⚪️🔵

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