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5 potential new managers for Reading as Veljko Paunovic edges closer to axe

The Championship strugglers lost an eighth successive match at the weekend, beaten at home by Coventry with fan protests marring a game that was meant to toast the club’s 150th anniversary

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The Reading FC club song official video for They Call Us The Royals

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Reading are reportedly on the verge of sacking manager Veljko Paunovic.

The Royals endured a chastening weekend, with Coventry City coming from behind to inflict an eighth successive defeat on Paunovic’s side.

It cranked up the pressure even further on the Serbian, with the Mail claiming that the Berkshire club are ready to swing the axe.

Saturday was the club’s allocated day of celebrations to mark their 150th anniversary but there was little to cheer, with protests before the game as unhappy fans made their feelings known.

Reading were hit with a six-point deduction earlier this season for a breach of financial fair play rules. That handicap, allied with their wretched recent form, leaves them just two points above third-bottom Peterborough – who they travel to for a huge Championship relegation clash on Wednesday.

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Following the loss to the Sky Blues, a section of home fans invaded the pitch to once again highlight their displeasure at the club’s situation both on and off the field.

Paunovic, whose side last tasted victory on November 27, refused to be drawn on speculation over his future when questioned post-match.

“There is no need to answer that. If something has to happen, it’ll happen,” he said.

“We need to stay away from negativity and whatever is happening around.

Veljko Paunovic has lost his last eight games in all competitions

“It is my responsibility and I feel very sorry at some point I let certain things happen and provoked so much frustration and negativity around us and myself, but I understand that.

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“I know how football is and I’ll keep looking to fix it and change that, but most importantly for the team. And then I need everyone on the same page.”

Here, Mirror Sport looks at five potential managers who the Royals could look at, if Paunovic gets the chop.

Neil Warnock

Neil Warnock’s last post was at Middlesbrough

Warnock’s name is effectively shorthand for footballing firefighter.

The veteran boss has been in management for more than 40 years but the manner of his recent exit from Middlesbrough clearly still stings him.

He was linked with taking over at Barnsley recently but they look set to keep faith with Poya Asbaghi for a while yet.

A chance to rescue the Royals on a short-term basis may be the ideal short-term job that Warnock is after.

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Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy left Cardiff City in October

Another wily old operator at Championship level, McCarthy has been out of the game since leaving Cardiff in October.

His time with Cardiff ended on a sour note but his initial impact saw them go on a fine run of form that just saw them miss out on the play-offs.

He would perhaps enjoy the chance to prove his doubters wrong in the final third of the season.

Garry Monk

Garry Monk has been out of work since leaving Sheffield Wednesday in 2020

Despite only being aged 42, Monk has already managed five clubs across the top two divisions.

Most of that time has been in the Championship and having left his previous post at Sheffield Wednesday 15 months ago, Monk must surely be itching to get back into the game.

He operated under tough circumstances at both Wednesday and Birmingham – with points deductions handed down to both teams during his tenure – so in that regard he could well be the ideal man for Reading.

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Aitor Karanka

Aitor Karanka has managed three clubs across the top two divisions in England

Another with extensive Championship know-how, Karanka left his last post in charge of Birmingham just under a year ago.

Granted, his football may not be the most easy-on-the-eye but he knows how to grind out results and keep defences tight – something Reading desperately need in their current predicament.

A short-term deal may just be the window of opportunity he needs to get back in the game.

Alan Pardew

Reading gave Alan Pardew his first management job, between 1999 and 2003

A long shot, but Pardew may well fancy the shot at returning to save his old club.

Pardew’s first-ever job in the dugout was at Reading and he repaid their loyalty with a promotion.

He would ultimately end his time at the club by resigning to force through a move to West Ham. Plenty of water has flowed under the bridge since then however, and having move into an advisory role with CSKA Sofia, the 60-year-old may fancy a step back into management with his old club.

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