Reading sack manager Brian McDermott
Manager leaves the club second from bottom in the Premier League
Reading have sacked manager Brian McDermott, it was announced this evening.
The announcement comes 48hours after the Royals lost 2-1 to fellow relegation strugglers Aston Villa.
The result left the Berkshire club second from bottom in the Premier League table, four points adrift of safety.
The decision, with just nine games of the season remaining, will come as a surprise.
Despite Reading's troubles on the pitch following their return to the Premier League there has been a well publicised good team-spirit at the club. And with so few games of the season remaining, any incoming manager will struggle to make a swift enough impact.
A Reading statement said: "Owner Anton Zingarevich wishes to place on record his thanks to Brian," adding Zingarevich "felt that a change was necessary".
Saturday's defeat at the Madejski Stadium was their fourth straight loss in the Premier League which included a home defeat to fellow strugglers Wigan.
The 51-year-old had taken over as caretaker at the club in 2009 before being named full-time boss a year later. He led them to promotion to the Premier League last season.
Di Matteo and and Paolo Di Canio have been installed as the favourites to take over with Reading stating: "The search for a successor will start immediately and it is hoped that a new Manager will be in place as soon as possible to lead the fight against potential relegation."
McDermott becomes the fourth Premier League manager to lose his job this term, following in the footsteps of Mark Hughes at QPR, Nigel Adkins at Southampton and Roberto di Matteo at Chelsea.
Latest in Sport
Sami Khedira to Arsenal: Midfield omitted from Real Madrid squad for Spanish Super Cup
David Gold furious after Carlton Cole parody account mocks up a picture of West Ham chairman as a suspect in the Madeleine McCann case
Paul Scholes: Manchester United need five experienced players who can turn round a desperate situation
Angel Di Maria latest: Manchester United target is Real Madrid's 'best player', says Diego Simeone
Luis Nani exit: The curious case of the Manchester United winger
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 3 Paul Scholes: Manchester United need five experienced players who can turn round a desperate situation
- 4 Nicki Minaj 'Anaconda': Singer finally releases predictable video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women