Watford face the Royals this weekend, get the inside track here
Vital Reading ed. Josh Aspinall gives us the lowdown on his beloved Royals ahead of Saturday’s game…
Halfway through. How does your current position sit versus your expectations at this point?
It’s been a weird one really because I really felt we didn`t have a chance of getting into the play-offs a few months ago but a recent turn in form has somehow turned us from mid-table security to play-off contenders.
If you were to offer play-offs to me now I would probably snap your hand off but I have always said if we do what we usually do and finish off stronger in the second half of the season, we could even make autos. It sounds incredible and I highly doubt it will happen, but we have shown we are capable of matching the teams above us and with the likes of Southampton and West Ham looking a bit fragile of late, I wouldn`t put it past us, or anyone above 10th really.
Who has been the key man for you to date?
Hard to call between Alex Pearce and Kaspars Gorkss but I will go for Pearce considering how much he has improved. He won player of the month for December and deservedly so in my opinion, as his performances at the back were top class. He is only 22 but is playing with the reading of the game of a 37 year old! He can chip in with the goals as well from set-pieces.
Gorkss was a close second and is definitely a factor in Pearce`s recent form, being next to such a fantastic experienced centre back. It sounds strange really but the attack haven`t been anything special this season, they have had there glimpses but the defence have certainly been the positives from the season so far.
Where will you strengthen (if at all) in the January Transfer Window?
Where I reckon we should strengthen and where we will, will probably be too completely different things. It comes across to us Reading fans that McDermott is in the market for a striker, presumably for the lack of goals of late.
However, the problem certainly comes from the supply to the strikers. Kebe and McAnuff are really our only options going forward, which is frustrating considering they can be so inconsistent. My annoyance is the lack of creativity and flair through the middle, which is hard to come by when you have two defensive minded midfielders behind the strike force. Sigurdsson used to do that so well for us but we haven`t really found anything since.
I would love someone like Darren Gibson, who has some creative spark along with some decent long-range shooting, similar to Sigurdsson.
If you could sign one Watford player this Window, who would it be?
It would be between Sordell and Eustace, but I will go with Eustace on this one. Whenever I have seen him play, he always comes across as ‘Mr Reliable`. Doing the right things, dictating the tempo of play in the midfield, breaking up attacks, just the experienced head really.
For any team that is such a crucial player to have, obviously at his age he may not have the legs anymore but the experience he has is priceless.
And, on the flip side, if you could inflict one Royal on us, who would that be?
Brian Howard. Hasn`t really had the best of times with us and has wanted to leave for quite a while now. Has about one good game in 20 and likes to think he is a playmaker but reminds me more of a fat kid thinking he is good at football. Hasn`t scored near enough as many as he should have for his past record. If you`ve got a bag of spuds, I`ll drive him up there and it will be a done deal!
Always a tough place to go is Vicarage Road, especially with your recent form there. Would very happily take a draw. I reckon it will be 1-1.
Cheers, Josh. Strange one about Brian Howard – always struck me as a good player at Barnsley!