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Paul Ince gives a hint about his near-term future as interim manager of Reading FC

Reading FC caretaker manager Paul Ince has hinted he is likely to be in charge of the club for the rest of the season at least.

The 54-year-old was appointed in the middle of last month following the departure of Veljko Paunovic.

At the time, a club statement said Ince had been appointed “to take care of caretaker first-team affairs alongside academy director Michael Gilkes as we embark on a thorough search for ‘a new permanent director’.

Since then, Alex Rae has been appointed assistant manager at Ince, while Gilkes has also been joined by U18 boss and former Royals player Mikele Leigertwood in the coaching staff.

READ MORE: Paul Ince sends message to Reading’s out-of-contract players

There has been no official word on the latest search for a new permanent boss and Ince has previously said he will be in charge unless otherwise stated.

However, speaking ahead of Saturday’s Championship clash with Millwall at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, Ince gave the clearest indication yet he will oversee Reading’s final 12 games of the campaign.

“We have to learn to be mentally strong out of possession,” he said when asked about building the team’s defensive structure.

“Sometimes as soon as we lose the ball we’re so out of shape, there’s so many gaps and we get counterattacked and teams seem to want to score.

“I don’t want the next 12 games that I’m responsible for to be basketball games where we attack, and they attack. It will give me a heart attack.

“It’s great that we’re playing entertaining football, but we’re in a situation where we have to get wins and we can’t afford to think ‘they attack, we attack, we have the strongest attack, we should therefore score more goals.'”

Ince has overseen two Reading games so far – a 2-1 win over Birmingham City followed by a 4-1 defeat at Blackpool last Saturday.

The results leave the Royals sitting precariously above the relegation zone, with just six points separating them from closest challengers Barnsley who have a game pending on them.

Ince added: “We have to discipline the players in terms of form when we’re out of possession. If you’re in form you save so much running, that’s what they don’t fully realize.

“If you’re fit, you don’t need to run 30, 40, 50 meters. We’ve had a few hours on the training ground, we still have a lot of hours to do on the training ground.

“It’s good that we have another week before the Nottingham Forest game (next weekend) to do more and then the international break after the Blackburn game (in a fortnight) to do more.

“I don’t want to stop the other side of the game where we understand that we have to attack the teams and try to win the game. We know where we are and we know it’s going to be difficult.

“We know it’s going to go to the wire and things are going to change every week, it’s going to happen. But we have to make sure we’re mentally strong and mentally disciplined in our form, as we know from a point of view attacking. that we can score goals.”

BerkshireLive will have full coverage of the game on Saturday in a live blog starting at 12 p.m. Kick-off is at 3 p.m.

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