READING FC caretaker boss Scott Marshall was coy about his chances of landing the job on a permanent basis following today’s defeat to Sheffield United.

Under 23s manager Marshall was put in charge of the first-team on Thursday following the dismissal of Paul Clement.

The Chronicle understands Royals have drawn up a 10-man shortlist and are said to be keen on bringing in Luis Castro, who is in charge of Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal.

When asked if he wants the job himself, Marshall replied: “I don’t know. But I have really enjoyed working with the Under 23s and we have some really good players coming through. There’s a good future there.

“I’ve been asked to step up so I’m going to give it my full effort to try and help the lads perform.

“We will stick together and do what’s needed at this moment in time.”

However, Marshall accepts he will have to beat off competition from more experienced managers including former Villa boss Steve Bruce and ex-Reading captains, Phil Parkinson and Graeme Murty.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of people interested in the job,” he stated. “It’s a great club and a great situation in terms of good playing staff.

“I’m sure there will be quite an interest, but I’m planning to take training next week.

“I’m thinking we can do things a little differently and a couple of wins can turn things quickly. That’s what we’ll be thinking about before Rotherham next weekend.”

He added: “I don’t think many things prepare you for being a first-team manager. I’ve certainly had a good stint in football and I will try and make the most of every situation. The one right now is a challenging one but I’m well up for the fight myself.

“It was quite pleasing to look around the dressing room after the game. There were one or two guys ready to grit their teeth.

“We’re disappointed things haven’t worked out for Paul and a change has been made. Emotionally it’s quite a challenge from my point of view and the group’s.

“We’ve just got to manage that together and battle through for as long as it takes.

“The main thing is we want to generate a bit of spirit and togetherness so we can see things through a bit more.”

Reading, who failed to register a single shot on target today, fell behind in the 83rd minute when former loan striker Billy Sharp stabbed home.

A Sam Baldock own goal made it 2-0 three minutes later as Royals fell to their 11th defeat of the season to drop into the relegation zone.

Marshall confessed: “We’re obviously disappointed and it’s a sore one when you concede so late on in a game.

“We struggled a bit to cope with the changes Sheffield made at half time. They put a lot more pressure on us and were in our faces. It was disappointing to concede in the manner we did.

“We had opportunities to pass and play and link up and we wanted to work their goalkeeper a lot more. We had chances we didn’t capitalise on early in the game.

“Straight after the game it was good to be around the group, look into their eyes and maybe set them a challenge.

“I thought they looked quite positive, there were some encouraging signs there and I’m looking forward to the next few days.”