Marc McNulty admits Paul Clement’s departure came as a big shock to the Reading squad.
The players arrived at Hogwood Park on Thursday morning as normal for training, only to be called into a meeting where Clement informed them that he would be leaving the club.
Under-23s boss Scott Marshall, along with first team assistant Nigel Gibbs, then took the session and will lead the Royals into Saturday’s clash against Sheffield United at Madejski Stadium (5.30pm).
And striker McNulty, who was signed by Clement from Coventry City in the summer, says the news was unexpected.
“It was a shock,” he said.
“The boys turned up this morning for training as usual, getting ready to go out and a meeting was called. Even then we thought it was going to be maybe (about) something against Sheffield United but the manager had a brief chat to say he was departing and it was a surprise.
“It wasn’t too long to be honest, it was short and sharp. I think the manager was surprised, as were the players. We never saw it coming.
“He (Clement) was just wishing the boys luck. He thought the performances were getting better and were maybe turning a little bit.
“But he’s obviously not here any longer so he was just wishing the boys the best of luck for the future.”
He added: “It’s obviously disappointing.
“You never want to see anyone lose their job and from a personal level he brought me here in the summer so it’s a bit disappointing.”
New CEO Nigel Howe will now embark on finding a new manager, the third this year after Clement replaced Jaap Stam in March, but Marshall will lead the side this weekend.
And McNulty says having Gibbs also involved will help with the transition.
“Nigel and Gilkesy (Michael Gilkes) have worked closely with the manager,” said the striker.
“They were in with all his ideas for the weekend and how we should approach the game.
“I’m guessing they’re going to be helping Scott with team selection and tactics.
“The manager normally does his video analysis stuff a day or two before the game. Obviously he went today so we couldn’t get any of that done.
“But we’ve been working on Sheffield United earlier on in the week.”