The international break is coming towards its end, and Preston are now looking ahead to the weekend trip to Reading.

North End will be back in action on Saturday afternoon, heading down to Berkshire. Before the break, North End beat Barnsley 5-1 at Deepdale, and will hope to continue that form after the break.

Barnsley sacked their manager shortly after losing to Preston, and this week’s opponents did the same before facing North End. Jose Gomes lost his job after a 1-0 defeat at Bristol City, having claimed just one point in his last six games.

Reading wanted a new boss over the international break, and Mark Hughes was a name touted for the job. Hughes’ old assistant Mark Bowen was sporting director at Reading, so a reunion made some sense.

Mark Bowen (L) with Mark Hughes during their time at Southampton. (Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

Today though, Reading have confirmed that Bowen is actually their new manager, in a rather strange move. From being in a key role to decide the new boss to just taking the job himself, it’s a bold step by Bowen and by Reading.

The Welshman had initially arrived as a consultant earlier this year, before being made sporting director in August. Now, two months later, he’s in charge of the Royals.

Bowen did start his coaching career with Reading before joining Hughes with the Wales national team. Bowen has followed Hughes around for much of his career, heading to Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers, Stoke City and Southampton.

Mark Bowen during a Southampton training session. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)

The 55-year-old has never been a full-time manager, and comes in to a tricky job. Reading have spent heavily over the summer, landing strikers Lucas Joao and George Puscas for big money without much success so far.

Reading sit in the bottom three right now, and fans aren’t too enthused by Bowen’s appointment. Still, Preston don’t have a great record at the Madejski Stadium of late, and will need to be wary of the famed ‘new manager bounce’.

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