Now that we’ve had the first block of matches under new manager Mark Bowen, we want to know how well you think he’s doing. As usual, you can grade the gaffer from 1-5 in our poll at the bottom of the article.
He started out in arguably the most difficult position for any new Reading manager in quite some time. The decision to sack Jose Gomes was, at the time, a deeply unpopular one, and many fans reacted angrily to Gomes being replaced with the sporting director.
All in all, he’d been largely written off. However, a month or so into the job, he can boast an almost perfect set of results: three wins at home and one draw on the road.
First up was a last-gasp 1-0 win against playoff-chasing Preston North End; Matt Miazga converting from close range after Jordan Obita’s effort from distance was spilled by the goalkeeper. Not a great performance all round, but Reading were noticeably more resilient defensively and hard-working off the ball.
A few days later, Reading fought back from 1-0 and 2-1 down to seal a 2-2 draw at another top six team: Queens Park Rangers. Ovie Ejaria’s eye-of-the-needle through ball set up George Puscas for his first goal since Cardiff City, with Sam Baldock’s tap-in levelling the game up in front of the away end. Again, aggression off the ball shone through and paid off.
After a postponed trip to Nottingham Forest that’s since been rearranged for January, Bowen added another two home wins to his tally: beating Millwall 2-1 and Luton Town 3-0. In fact, Jed Wallace’s goal in the first of those matches is the only one Reading have conceded at the Mad Stad under the new manager.
Otherwise, the Royals have looked increasingly dangerous going forwards. Obita and Baldock found the net from range against Millwall, with Michael Morrison, Ovie Ejaria and Garath McCleary scoring against Luton. However, credit should also go to to John Swift who’s revelling in his deep-lying midfield role.
Bowen’s also connected well with the fans in the last month, with his straight-talking style in the media coming across well. Doing so was important to repair the manager-supporter relations that had deteriorated so badly when he was appointed, so it’s great to see real progress being made here too.
At this point I’d usually highlight the negatives about the manager from the last month to give a bit of balance, but there really aren’t many to pick out. Performances and results have been very good and he comes across well personally.
You can grade his start as manager down below in the poll. If it doesn’t show up, go through this link right here.