Steve Clarke returns to the dugout with Reading

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 16 December 2014, 15:56

Steve ClarkeReading have appointed Steve Clarke as their new manager at the Madjeski Stadium, less than 24 hours after Nigel Adkins was shown his marching orders. Clarke makes his eagerly anticipated return to the management arena, having been out in the wilderness for a year since suffering the sack at West Brom. The 51-year-old will be instantly tasked with leading the Royals clear of the dreaded drop zone and subsequently igniting a push for promotion.

In the aftermath of Adkins' sacking Clarke was installed as the early favourite in the Next Reading Manager Market, while the likes of Eamonn Dolan, Rene Meulensteen and Tim Sherwood also featured. However, shortly before midday on Tuesday bookmakers suspended betting, with rumours rife that Clarke was on the cusp of bagging the job. The speculation proved to be correct with Clarke now preparing for his first fixture on Saturday at home to promotion chasing Watford.

Clarke's only previous job in management came at West Brom, although he has previously coached Liverpool, Chelsea, West Ham and Newcastle. The Scot spent 18 months in charge of the Baggies, during which he led them to an impressive 8th place finish with a record points tally of 49, following an excellent first season at the helm. However, a sluggish start to the 2013/14 campaign saw Clarke lose his job in December after a run of four defeats on the spin. In total he won 19, drew 15 and lost 26 of his games at the Midlands club.

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