Ireland's Noel Hunt takes interim charge of Reading

Ireland's Noel Hunt takes interim charge of Reading

Noel Hunt, the former Republic of Ireland striker has been installed as the interim manager of Reading Football Club after the sacking of Paul Ince.

Ince took the reins on a permanent basis in the summer, but because of a six-point deduction, a relegation battle, and no win in the last eight matches, the club have removed the former Manchester United midfielder from the post.

Ince's Reading lost 2-1 to Preston North End on Easter Monday, which leaves the club one point from safety with just five games left in the season.

Ince was asked about the club's position on Monday and said: "We’d be sitting on 47 points, and if you look at the injuries, it’s going to be tough. If you get Pep [Guardiola] in here, it’d be no different. You could get [Jurgen] Klopp in here, it’d be no different because we have eight first-team players out. 

“I think it’s a bit unfair to ask that question – I’m not sure where you are trying to go with it. There are three weeks left, and I don’t think I am important in this – the players are and trying to lift them again and go again on Saturday.” 

The club has now acted and parted ways with him 24 hours later. 

Head of Football Operations Mark Bowen said on Reading's website, “I would like to thank Paul and Alex for their efforts throughout what has admittedly been a frustrating and exceptionally challenging season. 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, and James and the first team players as we go into five crucially important games at the end of our 2022-23 campaign.” 

The man who will replace him for now is former Ireland player Noel Hunt. Hunt has been working as the club's U23 manager since 2022. 

Hunt made 3 appearances for the Republic of Ireland national football team between 2008 and 2009. 

A statement on the club's website added, “Reading can confirm that the contract of first-team manager Paul Ince has been terminated with immediate effect. Assistant manager Alex Rae has also departed the club. 

“Our U21s manager and former Royals striker, Noel Hunt, has been installed as interim first-team manager until the end of the season.” 

Reading's next game will be against Burnley, who has already been promoted to the Premier League. 

That game kicks off at 3pm.