READING have sacked manager Veljko Paunović despite a 3-2 win over Preston in his last match.
Manchester United legend Paul Ince, whose son Tom is on loan at Reading, has been named as interim manager alongside academy manager Michael Gilkes while the club searches for a permanent manager.
The Royals are in danger of being relegated from the Championship, sitting just five points and one place above Wayne Rooney’s Derby County.
Prior to Saturday’s win at Deepdale they had not won in 12 games – a run which included an FA Cup exit to non-league Kidderminster Harriers and a 7-0 defeat to Fulham.
Reading released a statement that reads: “Reading Football Club can confirm that the contract of first-team manager Veljko Paunović has been terminated by mutual consent.
“The Serbian was appointed as manager of the Royals in late August 2020 and without fans in the stands to support him or his side, we sustained a push for promotion for much of his maiden campaign in the Championship – only for our play-off hopes to fade in the final few weeks of 2020-21.
“This season, somewhat understandably, has proven more difficult – having to help lead the club through strict transfer embargo restrictions and contract limitations, an injury crisis like never before seen at our club, a global pandemic and the challenge of a six-point deduction imposed by the EFL.
“For these reasons, owner Mr Dai Yongge wanted to afford Veljko time to turn around a poor recent run of results that now sees us in a battle for second-tier survival.
BETTING SPECIAL – GET £40 IN FREE BETS WITH PADDY POWER
“However, with nearly a third of the season still remaining and every point now vital in our bid to retain Championship status, the decision has been mutually agreed to make a change.
Chief Executive Pang, said “I met in person with Pauno yesterday morning and I would like to personally thank him for his commitment and dedication to our club during his time as first-team manager – but also his professionalism throughout what have been undeniably challenging circumstances this season.
“Everyone at Reading Football Club would like to wish Veljko the very best of luck in his future career.
“The board and I will now work diligently to identify the right candidate to take this club forward. This work will be done quickly but without undue haste as we fully appreciate the importance of our decision to appoint a new manager at this crucial stage of the campaign.”
⚽ Read our Football News Live blog for breaking news, transfer gossip and must-read stories