We’ve just got to wait in hope, says Reading interim boss Noel Hunt

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Steven Paston/PA Archive

Reading interim manager Noel Hunt knows his side are now relying on results elsewhere to survive in the Sky Bet Championship and have only “hope” remaining.

A 1-1 home draw with Wigan kept them in the relegation zone, with Latics’ relegation confirmed by the stalemate.

Charlie Hughes headed Wigan in front after 81 minutes but were condemned to League One next season when home substitute Yakou Meite slammed home from close range in the third minute of stoppage time.

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The third relegation slot is now between Reading, Huddersfield and Rotherham.

The Royals have to visit Huddersfield on the last day of the campaign on May 8 but could be down before then if the Terriers and Millers pick up points from their games in hand.

“Listen, we’re relying on other results now,” Hunt said. “And we’ll be keeping a close eye on them.

“We’ve just got to wait in hope. And, hopefully, we’ve got something to play for (at Huddersfield) on the Monday.

“I’m disappointed and gutted in terms of the result and the scoreline.

“But in terms of the performance, how we dominated the game and the character that we showed, I couldn’t be more proud of them.

“If the ball had dropped for us more, we could have scored four or five more goals.

“What the boys gave on the pitch today should be the minimum requirement for this club.

“The players are devastated in the dressing room but they can be proud of what they have done today.

“They have been written off for much of the season but, from the minute I stepped in here, they’ve shown just what good people and what good professionals they are.”

Wigan made a swift return to the third tier after being promoted as champions last season.

Boss Shaun Maloney said: “It’s a really difficult feeling at the moment. It’s been a really difficult day for everyone, a deeply painful day.

“It’s been a real mix of emotions.

“The players have given me everything since I took over and I couldn’t have asked for any more effort from them.

“We’ve won games and we’ve lost games but, in terms of the group of players, they’ve been immense for me.

“It’s been such a unique situation here at the club, especially with the three points deduction (for failing to pay players).

“We then knew it was going to be very difficult for us. But for the players and the fans, just a massive thank you to them for all they have given me and their club.

“At the end of the season, the table doesn’t lie. That’s fair.

“But from what the players have given me, they haven’t been one of the worst three teams in that time.

“I’ve now got to make sure that we don’t ever have a season like this again – on or off the pitch.

“When Charlie (Hughes) scored, I’m normally pretty calm in these moments.

“But I also know that football can take away from you as well – and, unfortunately, it did.

“At 1-0 we had to find a structure to see the game out. But from a set play, the bounce of the ball landed to Reading.”