Vital Reading Editor Josh Aspinall helps us preview Saturday’s Royal visit
Vital Reading Editor Josh Aspinall helps us preview Saturday’s Royal visit.
Make sure to check Vital Reading to see how we answered their questions…
What were Reading`s hopes, fears & expectations for the season?
The hopes were very high – everything was looking very positive in terms of the manager’s experience, the owner looking committed and keeping the majority of our squad together following relegation, and even adding some experienced players. This led to reasonably high expectations of promotion amongst our fans, who are very rarely optimistic!
This though lead to the fears, that we wouldn’t live up to these expectations and struggle to adapt to Adkins’ different style of play, which has since been the case!
Can you clarify the Reading ownership ‘situation` succinctly (if possible!)?
You probably know as much as I do, absolutely nothing!
What has appeared to have happened though is that our Russian owner has done a runner, especially considering he hasn’t been in the country since September and failed to complete his 100% takeover of the club that month.
All the signs appear to be saying that he wants to sell his 51% share in the club, but if the reports and rumours are to be believed, we have a few interested parties.
We have had representatives from Oman at recent games and an American consortium has been talked about recently, but there is still no solid word from the club.
[This has since changed – Ed.]
No win in five in league and cup – what`s gone wrong?
It’s a range of factors really, but mainly the fact that Adkins is trying to get the players to adapt to a style that they are far from used to.
Brian McDermott played a very direct style and Adkins inherited a group of players that did had that mentality and still cannot seem to get them playing.
Performances have been absolutely shocking of late and some fans are even calling for Adkins to go, due to his stubbornness to not change the tactics.
Even when we were in the Play-Off places, we were not playing very well but still getting wins. Ironically enough, most fans agree that our best performance of the season and possibly our only good performance of the season came against yourselves in the 3-3 draw, as we saw some fantastic attacking football.
I don’t think the ownership situation has helped the manager also, as he hasn’t been able to build the squad he wants.
Nigel Adkins is being linked with West Brom: are Reading fans desperate to see him stay or not too fussed?
As I mentioned, some silly fans are calling for his head, so it would probably be a divide in opinion if he was to leave.
If he was offered the job, I wouldn’t blame him at all for taking it, as he was given false promises by an owner who is non-existent at the moment and the players don’t seem to have the same passion they had under McDermott.
Any January business anticipated or done (in or out)?
It all will depend on the ownership situation in terms of incomings, but we certainly need to invest if we have any hope of promotion. In all fairness, our injury situation has been awful this season, often having at least six key players out every week, so it’s mainly just getting these players back fit and ready.
In terms of outgoings, Adam le Fondre is going to be the one with most interest. Alfie really hasn’t played an awful lot under Adkins, despite being our top scorer with seven goals in nine starts, which could mean he could be on his way this month.
Alex McCarthy is another who has been attracting attention for his superb form this season, even more so that he is a young, English player, which is the criteria for the tabloids to link him with anyone in the Prem.
Who will be your key man on Saturday?
Hard to say, but Nick Blackman is starting to find some form this season despite receiving a lot of criticism from our fans in recent months.
I’d like to think that Le Fondre would start with Pogrebnyak after a good performance as a loan striker against Brighton, but I have my doubts.
Any injuries or suspensions?
Yes, lots of them!
Jobi McAnuff will probably have a late fitness test for game because of a foot injury, so he is the only maybe. T
he definitely outs are Hal Robson-Kanu, Chris Baird, Sean Morrison and Wayne Bridge, while Jem Karacan, Mikele Leigertwood and Jason Roberts are all long-term absentees.
I want a game to come where I don’t predict a loss, but I still can’t see us getting anything from this one. You have too much attacking threat for us to keep a clean sheet and considering you have improved defensively and we have only scored twice in five games, I can’t see us scoring. 2-0 loss.