Clement axed by ailing Royals

Championship strugglers Reading have sacked head coach Paul Clement, with the Royals having won just one of their last seven league games.

The 46-year-old former Derby County and Swansea City boss only took charge at the Madejski Stadium in March, helping the club avoid relegation to League One.

However, the Royals find themselves entrenched in another relegation dogfight this season, with Reading currently outside the bottom three on goal difference only.

A club statement confirmed: "Reading Football Club can announce that Paul Clement has left his position as manager of the club with immediate effect.

"CEO Nigel Howe will seek to swiftly identify and appoint a new manager who will fit the Reading mould, build a team which can deliver performances and results that will help us climb the Championship table and lead the club towards promotion in the future."

Clement had struck a positive note following a 2-2 weekend draw with Stoke City, telling reporters: "The concern is the position in the league, we are still not clear of it. My view is that if you string performances together, results will follow.

"You can't say we've played poorly in the last two games against Stoke and Leeds. Yes, we picked up one point, but we haven't played poorly.

"If you continue to play well results will follow, I'm convinced of that. That will be the objective."

Reading are priced at 1/1 to be relegated this season, with Rotherham United 11/8 and Hull City 4/1.

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‘Suffering’ Clement up for the fight

Reading boss Paul Clement says he still believes his players are behind him and are capable of climbing out of the Championship relegation zone.

The Royals are 6/5 to go down this season after a run of three wins from their first 15 matches, Clement's men going down to his old club Swansea on Saturday.

The 2-0 loss in Wales was Reading's fourth in the last five matches and heaps more pressure on Clement, who only just kept the Berkshire outfit in the second tier on the final day of last season.

The ex-Derby and Swansea manager has only won five of his 23 Championship matches at the helm since taking over at the Madjeski Stadium and he says no one is suffering more than him during their bad run.

Clement says he won't be walking from Reading though, claiming he and the rest of the squad are ready to dig and battle for their Premier League survival.

"I understand that with each defeat, the pressure grows on me," he told BBC Radio Berkshire.

"But, there's no one more disappointed than myself. I'm the coach of this team, I pick the team."

"For anyone who thinks they're suffering, they're not suffering as much as I am," Clement added.

"It's been a really disappointing season so far. But I said to the players that, while I feel you are with me, I will continue to fight.

"I haven't worked for 20 years in my coaching career to get a fantastic job like this to give up and walk away when it gets tough. A lot of hard work has gone in personally to get this sort of position."

Reading have back-to-back matches at home in the Championship next, starting with the visit of Bristol City before taking on bottom of the table Ipswich.

The Royals are 2/1 to get the win when the Robins come to town, while Lee Johnson's men are 27/20 and the draw is 23/10.

Gracia ponders his options

Javi Gracia admits some of his fringe first-team players have given him a selection headache for Watford's Premier League clash against Tottenham.

After the Hornets had eased to a 2-0 Carabao Cup win over Reading on Wednesday, Gracia picked out Nathaniel Chalobah and Stefano Okaka, who were making their first appearances of the season, for special praise.

Isaac Success and Domingos Quina scored the goals against the Championship side, who are 7/4 to be relegated this season, while Watford are available at 17/4 to make it four Premier League victories in a row on Sunday by beating Spurs.

Gracia said after making 11 changes to his starting line-up: "I think Chalobah deserves this game and Stefano Okaka as well because they are players who have had a long period out injured.

"It is good for them, good for the team, for me, for the club and the supporters. We have enjoyed playing with players that do not usually play in the Premier League.

"It is a difficult situation for me but, as I usually do, I will try to choose the players who are the best option for the next game.

"I know my decisions are not fair with some players because I can only take 18 and I would like to take more players. It is not possible and I know my decisions will be hard but it is my job to do that."

Deeney vows to keep improving

Watford striker Troy Deeney is enjoying his football this season and is keen to carry on playing at the top level for as long as possible.

The 30-year-old, who scored in the 3-1 victory against Burnley earlier this month, moved to Vicarage Road from Walsall eight years ago and has scored an impressive 106 goals in 312 league appearances for the Hornets, who have won their first three top-flight matches of the campaign.

Deeney is 7/5 to score at any time on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup second-round tie at Reading, 7/4 to be relegated from the Championship this season.

Deeney said: "They say by 30 your career is going downhill. Well I reckon the people who said that never had a career or didn't work hard enough when they got to 30.

"I am going to try and be more like the Premier League players who ignored their age and carved out something to be proud of for their career north of 30.

"Let's see what happens but I am pleased with how it's started. It is all about today now. This league never does you a favour or gives you a breather."

Watford are 2/1 to finish in the top half of the Premier League this season.

Clement seals Yiadom coup

Reading manager Paul Clement believes the capture of the former Barnsley defender Andy Yiadom is a major coup for the Royals.

The 26-year-old Ghana international has spent the last two seasons at Oakwell but his contract with the Tykes has expired.

He previously played more than 150 games for Barnet having starred for Hayes  & Yeading and Braintree earlier in his career.

"I am very happy that Andy is joining Reading as my first signing since I have been here," said former Derby County and Swansea City boss Clement, who succeeded Jaap Stam as Royals manager in March.

"He is someone that I have known for a while and whose progress I was tracking when I was at Swansea. So I am very happy that he has joined us on a long-term contract.

"He comes here with valuable experience of the Championship – he's a good age too, and he has the right desires and ambitions which will help us to move forward with this club. We're delighted to get this signing over the line so early."

Meanwhile, Fulham are 8/13 to be promoted to the Premier League this season and Aston Villa can be backed at 6/5.

Cardiff’s success shocks Warnock

Neil Warnock has admitted ahead of the final game of the campaign that Cardiff City have massively over-achieved this season.

The second-placed Bluebirds host Reading at Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday knowing that they will secure promotion to the Premier League by matching or bettering Fulham's result at Birmingham City.

Before the season began Cardiff, 1/3 to beat Reading, were not being mentioned as possible promotion contenders and Warnock admits their success has surprised him.

The much-travelled manager said: "We're not daft, with the wage structure and what we spent, we never envisaged that we'd be where we are, if I'm honest.

"We always planned to try and be in that top 10 at Christmas time and be pushing for the top six come April to try and get in the play-offs.

"All credit to the lads, they've really taken everything on board and we've worked hard. We know we're not everybody's cup of tea, but it seems to be that mentality that has made us stronger.

"We keep getting kicked in the teeth and we keep bouncing back up, and that's surprising a lot of people. It doesn't surprise me though, because of the quality of the dressing room – it's as good as I've ever had."

Cardiff are 1/7 to be promoted this season while Fulham can be backed at 1/1 to go up.

Royals look to Clement for safety

Reading are confident they have got the right man for the job of ensuring Championship survival by appointing Paul Clement as their new manager.

The 46-year-old former Derby County and Swansea City boss takes charge of the Royals following the recent sacking of Jaap Stam, with Reading only three points clear of the relegation places after going nine league games without a win.

And chief executive Ron Gourlay believes that Clement can steer his new side to safety, with their next game a visit from Queens Park Rangers on Friday 30th March.

He told his club's official website: "I am delighted to have secured the services of a hugely experienced forward-thinking manager like Paul.

"Not only has he coached at some of the greatest clubs in Europe, winning trophies, league titles and European honours and working with some of the greatest players in the world, fundamentally he also has a rich understanding of English football, having managed in both the Championship and the Premier League in recent years.

"Everyone at Reading is fully behind Paul and his squad of players as, together, we initially set our sights on an eight-game battle and continue to strive to the take this club forward."

Reading can be backed at 5/1 to be relegated this season, with Birmingham City available at 10/11 and Barnsley 11/10.

Last season the Royals reached the Championship play-offs, seeing off Fulham in the semi-finals before losing out to Huddersfield Town on penalties in the Wembley final.

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Clement linked to Royals appointment

Paul Clement is one of the early frontrunners to become the next Reading manager after Jaap Stam departed on Wednesday.

The 46-year-old has been out of work since December when he was sacked by Premier League Swansea after a year in charge at the Liberty Stadium.

Clement also endured a disappointing spell in charge of Championship rivals Derby County before being shown the door by the Rams in February 2016 after 33 games at the helm.

However, he has enjoyed successful spells in assistant managerial roles under Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea respectively, while he did have an initial positive impact when taking over the Swans as he guided them to Premier League safety in the second half of last season.

Clement would be available to step straight into the position after the Royals decided to part company with Stam with the Berkshire side sitting just three points clear of the Championship relegation places with eight matches remaining.

The club acted following a run of one win in 18 matches which is a far cry from the Dutchman's first season at the Madejski Stadium last term when he guided the side to the Play-off final at Wembley and only missed out on promotion via a penalty shoot-out defeat against Hudderfsield.

In a statement from majority shareholders Mr Yongge Dai and Ms Xiu Li Dai, the club said it had "wanted to give Stam every opportunity to turn around what has been a difficult and challenging Championship campaign".

"After careful consideration, the decision has been made that a change is now necessary," it added.

"We will now focus on identifying and recruiting the right person to take the club forward."

Other names in the frame are Stam's former assistant Andries Ulderlink, former Brentford and Nottingham Forest boss Mark Warburton and ex-Royals defender Grame Murty, who is currently in charge of Glasgow Rangers.

The Royals, who are 5/1 to be relegated this season, could have a new man at the helm in time for their next Championship game at home against QPR on Good Friday, 30th March.

They are 11/8 to pick up a vital three points, while the R's are priced at 21/10 and the draw is available at 21/10.

Wolves aim to get back on track

Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo is ready for a busy week, as he aims to ensure his side's Championship promotion charge does not come off the rails.

The Molineux outfit have gone three games without a win in just over a week, being held to draws by both Preston North End and Norwich City, before being beaten 2-0 at Fulham on Saturday.

However, the Wolves boss is not about to panic, with his side still ten points clear of third-placed Aston Villa despite their recent dip in form.

The Portuguese told his club's official website: "It's our work to analyse and this week will be good for us because we can breathe and refocus. We're going to fix the problems, we'll find the right solutions.

"The team needs to improve in every aspect, both defence and offensive. We are conceding goals, so we'll look at everything as we always do.

"They were the better team and we struggled to go out and get possession, it's the reality of football and we keep on going. The focus is exactly the same, but we must do better.

"Fulham deserved it. They have good momentum and are a good team."

Wolves are back in action next Saturday when they play host to Reading, who have won just once in their last 13 league games.

The hosts are 2/5 to claim all three points at Molineux and are 5/1 to secure a 2-0 victory, with Wolves 11/2 to win the game 1-0.

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Stam pleads patience for De Boer

Jaap Stam believes fellow Dutchman Frank de Boer needs to be given time to make his mark at Crystal Palace after their slow start to the season.

The Reading manager says de Boer must be allowed time to create the 'atmosphere' he needs at Selhurst Park, after Palace chairman Steve Parish suggested last week he is concerned about the club's start to the season ensuring pressure is already beginning to build on the Eagles boss.

Crystal Palace have no points and no goals after three games, joining West Ham and Bournemouth at the bottom of the table.

This weekend they face Burnley in what could already be a vital encounter for the man that replaced Sam Allardyce in the summer.

Stam was formerly assistant manager to de Boer at Ajax and believes that he needs time to build something at his new club.

"The club made the decision to get Frank because of his way of working and how he wanted to play," he said.

"As a manager to go to England to work and get success straight away is very hard.

"Sometimes as a manager you need to have time to build something and create a certain atmosphere within the group that gets results.

"The only thing is; are we patient enough and do you get the time? That's not always the case."

Palace are 23/10 to beat Burnley this weekend, the Clarets are 5/4 while the draw is 11/5.

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