We’ve now come to the end of Mark Bowen’s first season in the Mad Stad hot seat, and we want to know how good or bad a job you think he’s doing. We last asked you this in late 2019, not long after he began life at Reading, so it’s time to see how much your opinion has changed. Back then, you gave him a score of 4.45/5, demonstrating the bright start he made to management.
In the intervening months, he oversaw an encouraging push up the table in late 2019 and early 2020, which was brought to an end by the injury of Lucas Joao. It did however earn him a new contract in January, which was well deserved based on his previous form, but left some wondering if it was premature.
Reading’s campaign then ran out of steam before lockdown as the team struggled for consistent performances in the league. There were some brighter performances, such as the 3-0 away win at Sheffield Wednesday, but there were also some dire ones like the 3-0 thrashing by Wigan Athletic at the Madejski Stadium.
Indeed, home form has proved to be problematic for Reading in 2020. We’ve won just once on our own patch this calendar year, scraping a 2-0 victory against Barnsley, and have ended the campaign with the third-worst home record in the division.
On the flipside, Bowen did guide the Royals to the fifth round of the FA Cup, thanks initially to away wins at Blackpool and Cardiff City. Reading went on to take Sheffield United to extra time at the Madejski Stadium, and weren’t far from being in the quarter finals of the competition.
The Royals had an outside chance of the top six by the time the restart came around, but poor form put that idea to bed. In the nine matches that followed lockdown, Reading won just twice (away to Luton Town and Charlton Athletic), drew twice (Stoke City and Huddersfield Town) and lost on five occasions: Derby County, Brentford, Middlesbrough, Blackburn Rovers and Swansea City.
General performances have been poor too; the Luton match was the only one of those games in which Reading really convinced. Otherwise mentality, defending and creativity have all been problem points for this side in recent weeks. Although having a lot of players due to leave the club at the end of the season has made things difficult for Bowen, you’d still expect more from this group.
Have your say
You can grade Mark Bowen’s overall performance as Reading manager in the poll below. As ever, you can score him from one to five. The poll should show up underneath this text, but if it doesn’t, please go to this link.