FORMER Chelsea and Tottenham midfielder Gus Poyet has emerged as the front-runner for the vacant Reading manager’s job amid suggestions the Royals have approached Brighton for permission to speak to their Uruguayan boss.
Paolo di Canio, the former West Ham striker, was the initial bookmakers’ favourite to take the hot-seat at the Madejski Stadium following the dismissal of Brian McDermott last week.
But betting was suspended yesterday on Poyet taking the reins at the Berkshire club.
Having assisted former Chelsea team-mate Dennis Wise in the managerial set-ups at Swindon and Leeds, Poyet became assistant manager to Juande Ramos at Spurs in 2007.
Poyet, 45, made his first foray into management at Brighton in 2009, successfully stabilizing the Seagulls in League One, before guiding them to promotion in his first full season in charge.
Brighton are currently seventh in the Championship and only outside of the play-off places on goal difference with eight games to play.
Reading, who sacked 51-year-old McDermott last week, are second from bottom in the Premier League and face an increasingly tough task to secure survival.
McDermott is one of 33 managers to have left their posts this season, following the dismissal of Gary Smith from Stevenage yesterday.
And the League Managers’ Association believe that figure is “embarrassing”.
“The volatility is undermining the profession,” said chief executive Richard Bevan. “I’m not sure where the arrogance of football comes from that we don’t have to behave as any other industry. It’s embarrassing for the game.
“We need to work as a group – the Premier League, the Football League, the Professional Footballers’ Association and the LMA – to ensure that we have better training, not only for managers but also an understanding of how you run a football club.”
■ The midfielder won the Cup Winners’ Cup with Real Zaragoza and Chelsea. Ended his career with Spurs
■ Joined former Chelsea team-mate Dennis Wise at Swindon and Leeds, then assisted Juande Ramos at Spurs
■ Took the reins at Brighton in 2009. Led the Seagulls to promotion to the Championship the following season