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Reading have been given permission to talk to Brighton and Hove Albion boss Gus Poyet about their vacant managerial position, according to a Sky Sports report.

Brian McDermott was surprisingly sacked by Reading last week but, with the club languishing in the relegation zone on the back of four consecutive defeats, owner Anton Zingarevich decided to make the change.

Reports at the weekend suggested a shortlist of three had been drawn up, featuring Poyet, former Chelsea boss Roberto di Matteo and sacked Southampton manager Nigel Adkins. Paolo di Canio, who was recently at the helm of Swindon Town, was not being considered.

Poyet started his coaching career alongside Dennis Wise at Leeds United before spending as year on the staff of Tottenham Hotspur. He took charge of Brighton in November 2009 and has built a reputation for playing with style as well as success.

He kept Brighton in League One in his first season before going on to win the title in 2010-11. The Seagulls finished 10th in their first season back in the second tier and are well placed for a promotion push this campaign, only outside the play-off places on goal difference. Reading, by contrast, seem certainties to drop out of the Premier League after one season.

Poyet also led Brighton to FA Cup victories over Newcastle United in each of the last two seasons and only signed a new five-year contract in September 2011.

The 45-year-old former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder was priced as high as 20/1 on Tuesday night to swap the Amex Stadium for the Madejski, but is now as short as 1/10 after a huge spike in bets on Wednesday morning.

Comments made by Poyet after Sunday's 3-0 win over arch-rivals Crystal Palace have been interpreted to mean he was ready to leave, but it was thought a return to Leeds, who are set to part company with Neil Warnock, was most likely.

"This is a day to stop time and stay here forever. I'd like to finish a season like this," he was quoted as saying in the Argus. "If you need to leave, your last game at the football club, this is the perfect way to leave and to finish a career."

There has been no official comment from either club at this stage on Poyet's future.

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