Former Sheffield United, Middlesbrough and Watford boss Chris Wilder becomes heavy favourite for EFL vacancy
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The former Middlesbrough and Watford manager has been top of the bookmakers’ list for a number of weeks but there has been a huge shift in the odds, with Luke Williams, John O’Shea and Chris Davies joint second favourites at 8/1.
Since leaving the Blades in March 2021, Wilder has taken charge of Boro and the Hornets. He was sacked by the Riverside Stadium outfit earlier this season and joined Watford on a short-term deal this term, leaving once that expired at the end of the campaign.
Reading have been on the hunt for a permanent manager after sacking Paul Ince before the end of the season with Noel Hunt taking temporary charge of the club.
The Royals were hit with a six-point deduction in April after violating agreed budget restrictions after a previous breach of the EFL’s profitability and sustainability rules.
It ultimately led to the club’s relegation from the second tier, as they finished five points behind Cardiff City in 21st and six behind QPR in 20th, who they would have finished above on goal difference.
Asked about his chances of landing the managerial role permanently, Hunt said last month after a 2-0 loss at Huddersfield Town: “I have not even thought about it. As far as I was told, this was until the end of the season and then who knows?
“I was pretty sure I was probably going back to the under-23s. But I have not had that conversation. So your guess is as good as mine.”
Reflecting on his time at Watford and what could be next, Wilder told the Watford Observer: “My hunger, desire and work ethic hasn’t changed. It was there all the time I was at Watford. I slept at night knowing I put every ounce I had into it.
“Whatever has happened in this last year will stand me in good stead, and I still want to manage at the top end of English football. My passion for that is still there.
“If you’re so bruised and battered that you lose your appetite, and instead of getting into work at 7.30 you’re getting in at 9, and you find yourself taking shortcuts – if I ever get to that stage then I’ll know that’ll be time to come out of it.
“If I got to that stage then I wouldn’t be doing justice to myself or the club I was working for. But I don’t have any of those feelings at all. I’m ready and raring to go back in. I know the type of club I need to work with and be aligned to, and this experience has given me a good insight into a lot of things.
“I never look back at any experience and see it as a bad experience. I just see things I can learn from so I can try to be better.”