Bowen claims Reading can still make the play-offs

Stoke assistant manager Mark Bowen has revealed the squad's disappointment after getting nothing from their opening game at Liverpool.

New Reading manager Mark Bowen says his side can still reach the Championship play-offs after he was appointed on Monday.

The Welshman stepped down as the club’s sporting director this week to take the manager’s role after the Royals sacked Jose Gomes.

Gomes was dismissed after a run of five defeats in six games, with Reading now 22nd in the Championship table.

Bowen has been criticised after taking the role, with rumours suggesting he played a part in Gomes’ departure.

The former Stoke City assistant coach has denied that and believes he can make a big difference at the Madejski Stadium.

Although Reading’s last league win came in August, Bowen believes the squad is good enough to finish in the top six, which punters can back using their free bet.

He told Sky Sports: “I was the sporting director. I had no say whatsoever in Jose Gomes’ dismissal.

“It got to the weekend and I got a phone call from the owner saying that he had had a think about things and wanted to know if I could take on the job. I didn’t think twice.

“I know the club and I know the players. I think we’re in a false position. It took me two seconds to say yes. We’re third from bottom at the moment, but I believe that we’ve got a squad here, even now, that are fully capable of pushing for the play-offs.”

Reading are back in action on Saturday when they welcome Preston North End to Berkshire. Bowen faces a tough start, with Queens Park Rangers, Nottingham Forest, Millwall and Luton Town all on the fixture list in the coming weeks.