Mark Bowen: New Reading boss had started a shortlist of candidates

Mark Bowen and Reading chief executive Nigel Howe
Mark Bowen (left) alongside Reading chief executive Nigel Howe during his previous role as sporting director

New Reading boss Mark Bowen says he was drawing up a shortlist of candidates when he was offered the job himself.

Bowen became Royals manager on Monday, moving from his role as sporting director at the Championship club.

The former Norwich and Wales full-back, 55, will take charge for the first time against Preston on Saturday with Reading third from bottom.

"I was stunned to be offered the job as I had started the recruitment myself," Bowen told BBC Radio Berkshire.

Bowen initially arrived at Reading as a technical consultant in March to former manager Jose Gomes before being appointed sporting director in August.

Portuguese coach Gomes, 49, was sacked on Thursday after no win in six league games and having only been in the job for 10 months.

Bowen, who was Wales assistant boss under Mark Hughes between 1999 and 2004, is Reading's fourth manager in the past 18 months.

"I got a phone call after the Bristol City game that the decision had been made [to sack Gomes] by the owner and his associates," Bowen said.

"I was then asked to go through the process of drawing up a list of candidates. I'd already spoken to two or three, so it hardly rings true as someone who thinks the job's going to come to me.

"I then got a phone call over the weekend saying the owner had had a look of things and probably wants as little disruption as possible.

"So it was put to me that the least obtrusive way of doing things was: 'Would you like the job?'."

Bowen has agreed a deal as manager until the end of the season and will be assisted by fellow Welshman Eddie Niedzwiecki, a former caretaker manager at Reading in 1991.

He also confirmed that Hughes was not one of the candidates on his original shortlist and there are no plans to bring him to the club.

"I didn't think about the length of the deal or any promises about spending in January," Bowen added. "I didn't give it much thought other than this is a fantastic opportunity and I feel like I've won the lottery."