Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Dolan: Real pressure at Hogwood

Stand-in boss Eamonn Dolan said it is harder being in charge of Reading's youth academy

Stand-in Reading boss Eamonn Dolan insists coaching the Royals' Under-12s is a much stiffer task than taking charge of their Premier League strugglers.

Dolan stepped into the breach at Manchester United following the shock dismissal of Brian McDermott last week, and was in charge of the first team for their 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford thanks to a Wayne Rooney strike.

After returning to his day job at Reading's Hogwood academy base, running the rule over the club's youngest players, the 45-year-old said: "It is easy being a manager compared to an academy manager."

And the 45-year-old does not believe there is any comparison between the two jobs, adding: "It will be a lot more stressful if our under-12s are not passing the ball and I am thinking who is going to come through. That is the way I could lose my job.

"With the first-team, everyone gets time off during the international break. It doesn't work like that in the academy. We are a serious club. I go and watch kids from between nine and 15 at Hogwood."

At some point though, Dolan needs to have a chat with owner Anton Zingarevich to discover what job he will be required to carry out for the next few weeks.

For whilst results seemed to underline the folly of axing McDermott given Reading now have just eight games left to haul back the yawning seven-point gap to safety, Zingarevich is evidently a man of high ambition.

"The owner has been very clear with me," said Dolan. "We will sit down early next week and do what is best for Reading FC."

And whilst his own managerial experience only extends to a couple of seasons at Exeter before he left to take up his current role of academy manager in September 2004, Galway-born Dolan, an Irish youth international before he was forced to retire after contracting cancer, is not underplaying his own strengths.

"I am a valuable commodity," he said. "I have been a very good manager before and my skill set suggests I would be a manager rather than anything else. But the job of manager and academy manager are totally different."

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