‘I brought him to Stoke City’ – Reading boss on crowd favourite, Michael O’Neill and knowing they’d be ok



Mark Bowen knows all about Stoke City ‘s big threat up front when they take on Reading – because he played his part in getting him to the club in the first place.

Bowen, now Reading boss, was assistant manager to Mark Hughes when Stoke signed Tyrese Campbell from Manchester City’s youth team in 2016.

The England youth international, then aged 16, had a queue of suitors but it was Stoke’s sell about the pathway to first team football which won out. Campbell’s dad Kevin Campbell has also credited technical director Mark Cartwright’s role in the transfer.

Hughes was a huge fan of Campbell’s striker’s instinct… but didn’t get a chance to get him in the first team himself. In fact, it took until the arrival of Michael O’Neill to promote Campbell, now 20, to the starting XI on a regular basis.

Indeed, Campbell had one foot out of the door – pursued by Glasgow Rangers and other clubs – but O’Neill saw his potential and, by showing his faith, persuaded the forward to sign a new long-term contract.

The youngster has played a big role in the upturn in form, particularly since the New Year, when only Fulham have picked up points in the Championship – but Bowen hasn’t been surprised by the transformation under this manager.

Bowen said: “It is (a bad time to take on Stoke) – they are on a good run of form. I know Michael O’Neill well and his teams are well organised.

“They lost Joe Allen but they’ll be coming here to keep things tight to get something out of the game and see how it develops.

“They have Tyrese Campbell, a good young player who I brought into the club. He has a lot of pace so we have to analyse their threats.

“It’s a game we want to win because it takes us into a difficult week ahead. Everybody must be surprised about how much they have struggled.

“When you look at the quality of their squad on paper everybody expected them to be pushing higher.

“But with Michael and the players they’ve got it was always going to come right.”

Reading are 14th but in such a tight division, only eight points adrift of the top six.

Bowen was even asked if a play-off push could be possible over the final nine games.

“I don’t even want to talk about it,” he said. “When I came into the job I said those things and wanted to create an air of expectancy and wanted to look up.

“But if we do that and lose the next two games I’ll be asked if I’m disappointed in this or that.

“It’s one game at a time and if there is a chink of light with three or four games to go then we’ll see but with nine games to go you can quickly fall flat on your face in this league because the margins are so tight.”





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *