McDermott hails Pardew impact
Reading manager Brian McDermott credits Alan Pardew as the man who set the Royals on their way to the Premier League.
Pardew will return to the Madejski Stadium with Newcastle on Saturday after serving as Royals boss between 1999-2003.
The 51-year-old later departed for West Ham in acrimonious circumstances, but only after guiding Reading from the old Division Two to the brink of promotion to the top flight.
Although it was Steve Coppell who eventually steered them into the Premier League in 2006, McDermott credits Pardew for laying the groundwork.
"Alan Pardew is a good friend of mine and I believe he set the identity for this club over a period of time," said McDermott.
"The tempo of the team, the passing game and work rate are second to none here and he set that trend. That's been our identity for the past 12 years.
"Alan was the man who set Reading on course for the Premier League.
"I hope he gets a good reception on Saturday, but it will be what it will be. Everyone's moved on from when he left for West Ham."
It was Pardew who recruited McDermott as chief scout and manager of the Under-17 team in 2000 and the successor to Brendan Rodgers has been with the Royals since.
"I didn't really know Alan until I met him at a game at Brentford. I was cold, it was wet and I was out of work," McDermott said.
"We had a conversation and Alan must have remembered me because I got a phone call out of the blue a little while later asking if I wanted to come.
"I'd never been chief scout before. I was working incredible hours, but I loved it. Alan was paying me about £2.50 per hour, so he got his money's worth.
"I loved working with him, as I did with Steve Coppell. It was never a hardship.
"Alan was very good for me personally and for Reading as a football club. He's been very successful at a number of clubs since."
Reading are still searching for their first Premier League win of the season and sit bottom of the table after four games.
But McDermott insists they have been lifted by Wednesday night's 3-2 Capital One Cup third-round victory over QPR.
"It was a really good night for us, especially after the last two league games where we felt we hadn't done ourselves justice," he said.
"We stripped the team back to what we're about last night. Everyone could see we had a real identity.
"It's about being close as a group. Last night we attacked and defended as a group. Doing things together is the ethos of this club.
"Everyone feels better about themselves after last night. It's tough because we're not used to losing games here. It's not something we like doing."