The bookies are no longer accepting bets as to who will be named the next manager of Reading Football Club. Within the next 24 hours, that honor is set to be Nigel Adkins’.
The former Southampton boss met with representatives from Reading two weeks ago but was reportedly not interested in taking over Brian McDermott’s former role at Madejski Stadium. But after an additional week of discussions – and Brighton manager Gus Poyet’s decision to turn to Royals job to focus on The Albion – The Reading Chronicle is reporting that Adkins has done a 180 and is on the verge of being formally unveiled.
If the appointment is made, Adkins will be available to take charge ahead of the club’s trip to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday to take on Arsenal. If for some reason the deal with Adkins falls through, Reading will return to a pool of candidates that is believed to include former Swindon Town boss Paolo Di Canio, Bradford City coach (and ex-Reading captain) Phil Parkinson and former Roma manager Luis Enrique.
His hiring will see Adkins inherit a Royals squad in need of a miracle finish to remain in the Premier League. They currently sit second from bottom on 23 points and 19th in the table. They are four points off 18th placed Wigan, seven points off 17th placed Aston Villa and eight points off Southampton and Sunderland. Bookmakers have Reading as the most likely to be relegated at 1/16, followed by QPR at 1/6, Wigan 10/11, Villa 7/4, Sunderland 4/1 and Southampton 6/1.
Yet despite the bleak odds, the Royals’ remaining schedule is quite favorable. After the Arsenal match Reading faces Southampton and Liverpool at home, Norwich at Carrow Road, QPR at home, Fulham at Craven Cottage, City at home and West Ham at Upton Park. Southampton, Norwich, QPR, Fulham and West Ham are all winnable contests for the Royals. If Nigel Adkins can motivate his side to win at least four of those matches, Reading may have a shot at pulling off the incredible.
Who do you think will be relegated this season? Does Reading have a prayer of staying up?
AT THE HALF: Manchester derby scoreless after 45 minutes
After 45 minutes, the final Manchester derby of the 2016-17 Premier League season — the one that’ll go a long, long way toward deciding which of the city’s sides will finish in the top-four — is scoreless, but not without incident.
The game’s best chances thus far fell Manchester City’s way, as Sergio Aguero missed a clear-cut chance after 10 minutes — Kevin De Bruyne whipped in the perfect ball to the back post, and Aguero put it wrong side of David De Gea‘s post.
Ander Herrera has, once again, be Manchester United’s danger man, combining well with Marcus Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but Claudio Bravo made the one save he was forced into during the first half. One thing to keep an eye on during the final 45 minutes: Rashford picked up a knock very early on, and struggled to move around the field after that.
The third Manchester Derby of the season is the first away from Old Trafford, as Manchester United visits Manchester City (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.
There’s much on the line, as the sides sit just two points apart in the race for the Top Four. Man City would leapfrog third-place Liverpool with a win, while United could join the Reds on 66 points with a match-in-hand.
Of note, Ayre admitted that the club thought Dele Alli demanded too much given what he had produced when the Reds has the chance to sign him as a 16-year-old, and said that Liverpool could’ve landed Alexis Sanchez but the player wanted to live in London (“We couldn’t move the football club to London, unfortunately,” he quipped).
The best part relayed by Sky Sports had to do with Luis Suarez, and shows the relentless nature of the transfer market. Clearly Barcelona had interest in Suarez before the fiery striker bit Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, because, well…
“I remember the sporting director of Barcelona calling me during that game, immediately as Suarez bit the player, and he said to me ‘my friend, he’s bitten somebody, how can this be the price?’ I said ‘he’d already bitten somebody when you first bid!'”
We’re sure there’s a certain amount of storytelling in there, but undoubtedly some truth.
Given Barca paid a reported $84 million for the striker, the asking price couldn’t have started that much higher.
Rog and Davo return to discuss Chelsea’s FA Cup semifinal victory over Spurs, update their Top Four predictions (again), and dive into the depths of the relegation zone. Plus, the very important movement to change “Hudson Street” to “Ray Hudson Street.”
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