McDermott grateful for Ferguson advice

Brian McDermott has revealed how Sir Alex Ferguson took just five minutes to respond to an SOS from the Reading boss ahead of their first touchline clash this weekend.

Manchester United manager Ferguson is renowned for giving a helping hand to up-and-coming coaches, but McDermott was taken aback by how quickly the Scot agreed to come to his aid at the turn of the year.

Refusing to reveal exactly what he discussed with his opposite number, McDermott said: "I spoke to him in January about something that I needed to address and he was very helpful to me and giving me good advice."

He added: "I spoke to his son and asked him if he wouldn't mind Sir Alex giving me a ring. And, five minutes after that conversation, a private number came up and it was him.

"So, that just tells you the calibre of the man and what he's about."

Pressed over what they discussed, he said: "That's between him and me and obviously just talking to him was good for me.

"I don't know him particularly well but I just know him from that instance and I know that he's done that with a lot of young managers in the past. He does a lot for football and he does a lot for people in the game, and everyone respects that."

There is unlikely to be any charity from Ferguson on Saturday when his Barclays Premier League leaders meet the npower Championship winners at the Madejski Stadium.

McDermott faces arguably the biggest test of his career against one of the greatest managers of all time.

"He has done it, been there, seen it," McDermott said. "Everybody's got the ultimate respect for Sir Alex and everything he's achieved."