Reading and Sheffield United fans plan Armstrong tribute

McDermott was reserve-team boss at Reading when Armstrong joined in 2008. Photo: PA

Brian McDermott has given his backing to a plan by Reading and Sheffield United fans to sing Chris Armstrong's name during the third minute of Saturday's FA Cup clash between the ex-player's two former sides.

Armstrong enjoyed five seasons at United and three with the Royals before he was forced to retire from the game aged just 28 after he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

Supporters have suggested singing the former defender's name after three minutes of this weekend's Cup clash as a mark of appreciation of Armstrong, who wore the number three for both clubs, and Reading boss McDermott is a big fan of the idea.

He said: "If that's what the Sheffield United and Reading fans wanted to do after three minutes then I think that would be very fitting for a person of the stature of Chris Armstrong - considering what he did for both Reading and Sheffield United, what he does as a person, and for football in general. I'd certainly join in."

McDermott was reserve-team boss at Reading when Armstrong joined in 2008 and then became manager the following year.

He recalls with amazement the determination the player showed to play on despite his condition.

"I saw what he went through that summer, and we had to obviously keep things quiet," McDermott said.

"He worked every single day, he got himself into a situation where he played a couple of league games for us - which was amazing.

"It was incredible. The strength of character that he had to show was astonishing - what he's got inside, you can't bottle that."

McDermott and the rest of his squad met up with Armstrong prior to the Royals' 2-1 win at St James' Park last week, but the former Scotland B international will not be able to attend this weekend's fixture as his daughter Frankie is celebrating her first birthday.

Armstrong, who also played for Bury, Oldham, and Blackpool, is currently taking his coaching badges.