News and Views

New Management Team Prepare For Blackburn

18 December 2015
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Blackburn Rovers will provide the first test for Reading FC's new management team this weekend. The Royals officially welcomed back manager Brian McDermott as first team manager yesterday, and also announced that former Wimbledon manager Terry Burton would arrive as McDermott's assistant. McDermott obviously needs no introduction to Reading fans, while Burton is an impressive and well respected arrival for second in charge. McDermott was also quick to say that there would not be a massive Clarke-style clearout of backroom staff and that he would be working with the existing coaches for the rest of the season.

Terry Burton arrives thanks to McDermott's Arsenal connections. Burton started his coaching career at Arsenal where he took charge of a youth side than included a young Brian McDermott. He eventually moved to Wimbledon where he was popular with the fans for speaking out about the proposed dismantling of the club. It was his views on keeping the club intact and near home, and not Wimbledon's performances on the pitch, that led to his dismissal. After leaving Wimbledon, Burton had a couple of spells at West Bromwich Albion with a return to Arsenal in-between as Reserves & Head Development coach. He was most recently at West Brom as Technical Director before leaving in the summer. He joins Reading, to work with McDermott, with plenty of experience as assistant manager at Watford, Cardiff City and Sheffield Wednesday.

Combining McDermott and Burton with the existing backroom staff, should mean that the Royals now have a strong management team that can start work with a first team squad that has many talented individuals. If McDermott can get some positivity back, and the right attitude, we could be in for some interesting times after a couple of very poor months home and away.

Blackburn Rovers are just a point, and two positions, above Reading and should provide a fantastic opportunity for McDermott to mark his home-coming. If McDermott can somehow guide Reading to only their second win in ten fixtures then he will see his team climb above the visitors and back into the top half of the Championship table. McDermott's first match in charge before, way back in 2009, was a 1-1 away draw against Bristol City. A draw this weekend wouldn't be a bad result as he attempts to end a run of four straight defeats. Reading have scored just two goals in that run of defeats, so even a 1-1 draw once more would be a decent enough start on his return. Whatever happens McDermott is guaranteed a very warm reception from the home fans.

Reading go into the match on the back of 1-2 defeat at Hull City on Wednesday night. It was an unfortunate outcome for caretaker manager Martin Kuhl in his last match in charge as Reading looked set to earn a valuable point away from home. The defeat came about after three of Reading's defenders, Andrew Taylor, Anton Ferdinand, and Chris Gunter were forced to leave the pitch due to injury. None of the three players are expected to have long term problems but they remain doubts for Sunday. Gunter left the pitch right at the end, and was hoping to continue with Reading out of substitutes, but required stitches to a nasty cut just above his eye. He is likely to be back in the side. Some positive news for Reading is that Stephen Quinn will at last be expected to make his return from injury and could feature in the starting eleven.

McDermott might need a change in Reading's fortunes - we have failed to beat Blackburn in any of our previous eight meetings. We've also failed to score in four of those eight encounters.

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