Alan Pardew is ready to leave Reading and join West Ham United as their new manager, a move which is likely to cause more than a little unrest between the two clubs.
Pardew, who is keen to work at Upton Park, was left with little option after West Ham had had a second attempt to talk to him rebuffed by the Reading chairman, John Madejski, yesterday. Pardew will now leave his position in the next 24 hours to join West Ham, leaving the clubs to discuss the compensation details.
Madejski is unlikely to take the situation lightly. He has repeatedly stressed that Pardew is under contract and that while his contract allows him to talk to any interested Premiership side, there is no "get-out clause" for him to join a rival First Division club.
The multi-millionaire could try to stop Pardew starting his new employment, especially as the sides meet on Saturday, and he has proved a hard-nosed businessmen in the talks so far. West Ham may have to pay around £250,000 for Pardew with further possible complications if he takes members of his staff such as Mick Gooding.
West Ham wanted a quick appointment, but the Reading stance halted that progress - and they have given Pardew time to make up his mind, and sources close to him reveal that he is now prepared to walk out on Reading.
Pardew knows there is a bigger contract on offer at West Ham and he also knows they have more glamour and potential. He is not yet a candidate for Premiership jobs, so this is the next career move.
Reading have already drawn up contingency plans, with Wycombe Wanderers' Lawrie Sanchez a likely replacement. However, Colchester United's Phil Parkinson is also an option.
Yesterday morning, Trevor Brooking said he is planning for at least one more match in charge of West Ham. "We will see how it moves on this week but in the meantime I am caretaker-manager and I shall try and prepare for the Reading game as I have done in previous games," he said.
"You have to go through the system of asking permission and that has been rejected. I am just thinking about concentrating on the Reading game - they are a very good side and I think it will be our toughest game of the season so far. We want to try and get that result and then see what unravels itself," he added.
The Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given is fit to play in his 95th consecutive Premiership game, at Everton on Saturday. The 27-year-old returned from Russia with neck and knee injuries picked up during the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2004 qualifier, which they drew 1-1. The knee injury was a particular cause for concern but a scan has confirmed that there is no lasting damage.Reuse content