The Wokingham Paper

‘The moment I was asked to lead this club, it took my breath away’ says Reading manager Mark Bowen

Reading v Millwall

READING manager Mark Bowen described being offered the manager’s job as the highest point of his career so far.

“This is my club now. I’ve had many highs in my career but when I think about the moment Mr Dai asked me to lead this football club, it took my breath away,” said Bowen.

“It genuinely did because it was unexpected, and now I’m determined to hold onto it.

“I know how fickle this business is, at the moment everything is great and you think ‘how easy this game is’ but believe me I know its not and every manager needs that element of luck.

“You make your own luck if you’re willing to put the hard yards in and work hard then it will pay off. I’m loving every minute at the moment because we’re getting points and winning games.”

On the mood at the club ahead of the Luton game…

“Were in a good spot, but in football it can quickly turn the other way.

“In my mind, I wanted to get points on the board and see how we would be going into the next international break so it vital we get a result on Saturday and regroup, restock and look back at the month and then go again.

“We don’t want to switch off in any way mentally.

Were on a good run. Luton have slipped into the bottom three, it’s very easy mentally to think the jobs done before we put the effort in. we need that steely eyed desire and put the hard yards in.

“They will make us a hard side to play against and that mentality has to be there on Saturday.

“I saw that they (Luton) are the third highest scorers in the league so they are dangerous and can hurt us. From our point of view, they do concede a lot so we have to be careful that it doesn’t turn into a basketball match.

“There’s an expectancy on us, everyone is expecting us to go and win the game and that can be a burden so we’ve got to guard against that.

Possible rotation…

“I’m very careful to make sure the other guys who aren’t always in the team aren’t too disenfranchised. I’m constantly reminding them that they need to stay on top of their game because things can change very quickly.

“I want to be honest with them in everything I say.”

Team aggression and intensity…

“I think players play better when they’re angry, when they’ve got a point to prove.

“I tell them when they go out of the tunnel for the second half ‘get angry’ because I don’t think anyone gets the best out of themselves in any sport if they don’t have the desire.

“The fans want to be on the edge of their seat. Fans want to see players working hard for their team, its as simple as that.

“The first few weeks everyone wants to press, run and chase hard, my job is to make sure we carry on doing that.”

Upcoming international break…

“I think it could be coming at a perfect time for us, I really do. Everyday were asking them to put the effort in and measuring it. We’ve got a good sports science department here. When we get to 5 on Saturday, we can take a few days rest before we go again.”

Striking options…

They can become a really good partnership at this level (Puscas and Baldock), its all about communication.

“But I know I’ve got Yakou Meite, Lucas Joao, Lucas Boye and Danny Loader so we’ve got a wealth of talent all fighting for those places and there’s not a day goes by that I’m not reminded of that. It’s a good situation to be in, they have demands constantly put on them.”

Injury updates…

“Rafael had a scan Monday and there was nothing there, so he’s okay from a medical point of view just a bit sore. He shut down for a couple of days but he trained today and much the same with Liam Moore.

“He came out of the game and was tender and sore, so he had two or three days of gentle stuff in the gym and he trained this morning and is in a good place so there shouldn’t be any problems with those two.

“Lucas Boye has been training this week, its too soon for him at the weekend but he will play 45 minutes tomorrow for the under 23’s, we’ve got to be careful with him.

“Lucas João has  done a lot of gym work and on Monday he will be outside on the grass running.”

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