Reading boss Brian McDermott given a winning hand

Brian McDermott

"There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about," as Reading gaol's most famous resident, Oscar Wilde, once said. Across town from the gaol, Reading FC would do well to lock up their manager right now.

By entering talks with Wolves, Brian McDermott is in a win-win situation. Either he reaffirms his favourable status amongst Reading fans and stays at the Madejski Stadium, or he increases his wage and becomes a Premier League manager.

Either way, the speculation surrounding McDermott's future is a very good thing for the man himself. For too long he has been ignored, now he is being talked about.

There are several key factors that will encourage him to head up the M40. Alan Pardew was the man that brought McDermott to Reading, and at a similar stage Pardew made his move to West Ham. He had taken Reading to the brink of the Premier League, and just as fans were daring to dream, he jumped ship to a 'bigger' club. McDermott will see what Pardew is doing at Newcastle and fancy a similar career trajectory.

Just last week, he again mentioned to me that one of his big ambitions in the game is to become the Republic of Ireland manager. Success at Wolves would take him a step closer to this. He brought Kevin Doyle to Reading, and the pair are still in regular contact, and McDermott is also still in touch with former Reading and current Republic of Ireland player Stephen Hunt, who is now plying his trade at Wolves. These two players will be instrumental in any move to Molineux.

His public image might be slightly bumbling, modest charm, but do not be deceived. Like any top professional he is ruthlessly ambitious. He knows his own worth and recognises the great job he has done dragging Reading out from the relegation zone, and up the Championship to a play-off final and now third spot in the table.

But every time the Reading boss is asked about the Royals' new ownership plans, bringing in Anton Zingarevich to take control from longstanding chairman Sir John Madejski, he visibly recoils. While he says enough to avoid ruffling feathers, he has been far from gushing and looks keen to move the conversation on to other topics. "I don't make quick judgements on anyone. If he's good for the club, he is good for me," was McDermott's luke-warm response to the announcement.

Twenty Premier League and Championship clubs are now under foreign ownership. With the obvious exception of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, most managers are unemployed within 12 months of the arrival of a new foreign owner. McDermott will know this, and would rather jump before being pushed, as ridiculous as that may sound bearing in mind the current excellent run.

If he stays, McDermott will have strengthened his hand at Reading. He has raised his profile, and given a clear message to other clubs looking for new managers over the next couple of years - offer me enough and I could be tempted.

It will be a significant blow to Madejski and Zingarevich if McDermott does walk. Unlike 10 years ago when Pardew left Reading, the board will take more flak than McDermott. The outgoing manager's good name would be tarnished, but the uncertainty hanging over the financial backing would become a real issue.

Should Reading have a vacancy in the next few days, only one man would be acceptable to Reading fans. Like the FA with Harry Redknapp, Sir John will have no choice but to call Steve Coppell out of retirement.

Tim Dellor is BBC Radio Berkshire's Reading FC commentator

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