FORMER Reading FC winger Michael Gilkes has been promoted to first-team coach.

And in more changes behind the scenes, Scott Marshall has become the new Under 23s coach following the departure of Martin Kuhl.

Gilkes, 52, will now work alongside Royals boss Jaap Stam following a spell as manager of the Under 18s team.

The ex-winger is a big fans’ favourite after 13 years with Reading as a player between 1984-1997.

He made 486 appearances and scored 52 goals and was part of the Royals team that won the Simod Cup in 1988, netting against Luton Town in the final at Wembley.

Reading chief executive, Ron Gourlay, said: “Michael has long been a hero at this club and he has certainly proven his coaching credentials by taking a leading role within our esteemed Academy set-up since returning to the club four years ago.

“The manager wanted to swiftly appoint a new first team coach and, in Michael, we feel have the perfect candidate.”

Gilkes left Reading to join Wolves in 1997 then went to Millwall before ending his playing career with non-league Slough Town in 2003.

A stint out of football as a mortgage consultant followed before he started coaching with Hungerford Town and then at Basingstoke Town where he enjoyed a brief stint as manager in 2015-16 following the departure of another former Royal, Jason Bristow.

By that stage Gilkes had already re-joined Royals in 2013 as a youth-team coach within the club’s Category One Academy where he worked closely with assistant manager, David Dodds.

Now, after completing his UEFA Pro Licence earlier this summer, he has been drafted in by Stam to work with the first team.

Royals’ director of football Brian Tevreden stated: “Gilkesy is already a well-respected figure around the training ground and amongst our supporters, who still fondly remember the goals he scored as a Reading player.

“He is an exceptional coach who has been working closely with our young players for some time now and he has all the attributes to become an even better coach working alongside Jaap and his team.”

Meanwhile, Marshall arrives at Madejski Stadium as a replacement for Kuhl, who recently left his role as Under 23s manager.

Reading Chronicle:

New Reading Under 23 coach, Scott Marshall.

Edinburgh-born Marshall left his coaching position at Aston Villa in order to join Reading and Gourlay added: “Scott is an experienced coach who has proven pedigree in the development of young players domestically and internationally. He will be an extremely valuable asset to our Category One Academy set-up.”

Marshall, 44, began his playing career at Arsenal but played only 23 league games in eight years. He had loan spells with Rotherham, Oxford and Sheffield United before moving to Southampton in 1998 and then to Brentford and Wycombe Wanderers.

After ending his career with Wycombe in 2004, Marshall then completed a sports science degree and secured his UEFA coaching licence.

His coaching career took him to Wycombe and Brentford before a move to Oman as head of the Arsenal Soccer School.

He went back to Wycombe on his return to the UK, spent a year in charge of Norwich City Under 21s and then joined Aston Villa in 2013 before switching to Reading.

Marshall is the son of former Herts keeper, Gordon, and brother of ex-Scotland stopper, Gordon Jnr.

Marshall’s first U23s game will be against Fulham at Adams Park next Monday.

He replaces Kuhl who according to Reading left to ‘pursue a fresh, new challenge.’ Kuhl, the father of former Reading midfielder, Aaron, had been with Royals since 2000 and coached the Under 16s, 18s, 21s and 23s.

Reading Chronicle:

Martin Kuhl has left Reading FC.

Tevreden explained: “We would all like to thank Martin Kuhl for his hard work and dedication and we wish him the very best of luck in the next step he takes in his coaching career.

“Scott is an ideal candidate to continue the good work we do in our Category One system.”