NICK Hammond will not be returning to Reading FC as chief executive and has urged his former club to ‘get it right’ and ‘rediscover its identity’.

The club’s former goalkeeper-turned-football director - a position he held from 2003-2016 - was linked with the vacant position following Ron Gourlay’s departure on Monday.

Hammond is currently on gardening leave and waiting for the right opportunity to get back into football having been sacked by West Brom in April.

The 51-year-old, who was in charge during Reading’s most successful-ever period, has watched several home games at Madejski Stadium this season.

He remains a popular figure among supporters, many of whom have been clamouring for his return.

But Hammond is only interesting in a sporting director’s role – currently occupied by Gianluca Nani – and not the position of CEO which is business rather than football related.

Hammond told the Reading Chronicle: “I’m waiting for the right opportunity to go back in and my focus in on a sporting director role.

“It’s a massively important time for the club so I hope they take their time and get it right.

“The club needs to rediscover its identity.”

It is believed Reading’s Chinese owners Dai Yongge and sister Dai Xiu Li have other plans and want to bring in their own person, rather than look to the past.

They could turn to Brian Tevreden, the club’s former sporting director and current chief executive of Belgian club KSV Roeselare, which also belongs to the Dais.

Alternatively, Royals director Nigel Howe could be asked to combine his role in charge of business development with that of CEO, at least for the time being.

Brentford CEO Mark Devlin is another possibility, having recently announced he will leave the club at the end of December.

Bees were a League One club when he joined then from Notts County in 2011.