READING FC target Jose Gomes has insisted he has no intention of leaving Primeira Liga club Rio Ave.

Royals are believed to have asked Rio Ave president Antonio Silva Campos for permission to talk to their manager as the search for Paul Clement’s successor nudges towards a third week.

But comments Gomes made after their recent 2-2 draw with Belenenses has cast serious doubt over any potential move to the UK.

The 48-year-old, who is set to take charge of their game at Sporting Lisbon tonight, told Portuguese media: “It is true I have received an invitation (from Reading).

“The contact they had with me was not longer than that. I’ve been many years outside the country. This is a matter of Rio Ave, I am employee of the club, but who received me with open arms.

“I never will turn my back to those who trusted me, it’s not a financial issue.”

Gomes, who remains the bookies’ favourite, continued: “I am very happy here. I feel part of this family, regardless of financial issues, the difference of football in England, but I would never turn the back to those who trusted me.

“For my relationship with Rio Ave, with people, with supporters, would be a very difficult decision to take.”

Royals turned their attention to Gomes after being knocked back by Vitoria Guimaraes manager, Luis Castro, last week.

Football representative Kia Joorabchian has been leading Reading’s overseas search as his influence at Madejski Stadium grows.

Another of his Portuguese ‘clients’ – Shanghai SIPG boss Vitor Pereira – was previously linked with the vacant position.

Clement was sacked by Reading 14 days, but the Chronicle understands chief executive Nigel Howe is not in any rush to find a successor and would prefer to wait for the right candidate to become available.

Under 23s boss Scott Marshall oversaw his second game as caretaker manager on Saturday – a 1-1 draw at Rotherham – and is due to attend a pre-match press conference later today ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Middlesbrough (3pm ko).

It is believed Howe’s preferred choice was ex-Reading captain and Bolton boss Phil Parkinson, who remains the second favourite with the bookmakers ahead of Marshall in third.

But sources suggest Reading’s Chinese owners are not so keen and the 51-year-old appears certain to stay with the cash-strapped trotters.

Wycombe’s highly-rated boss Gareth Ainsworth has also been linked, though he has already ruled out a potential move to Madejski Stadium despite living in the area.

Former AS Monaco coach, Leonardo Jardim, joined the list of potential candidates this week that also includes out-of-work bosses, Steve Bruce and Slavisa Jokanovic, neither of whom look likely to land the role.