Q&A With Reading

  • December 05, 2014 | By David Williams
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/142b5

Ahead of the 30th meeting between Reading and Bolton, we have got the views of a Royals supporter.

Wanderers go into the game on the back of a 1-0 victory over Huddersfield Town last Saturday, while Reading were 2-1 winners at Norwich City on the same afternoon.

In our latest edition of Q&A, we have got the views of James Clyde from Royals Rendezvous. James has been watching Reading since 2003; His favourite memory is watching his side beat Cardiff City in the 2011 play-off semi-finals, while he lists former Wanderers midfielder Glen Little as his favourite ever player.

Ahead of Saturday's game, James shares his views on Neil Lennon's impact at Macron Stadium, the threat of Lee Chung-Yong and a stark reminder of a 7-1 defeat in last season's corresponding fixture.

Q: Reading seem to be fizzling away from their early season promotion form. What has happened?

A: Last season, we occurred an ownership issue which lead to then-owner Anton Zingarevich losing his 51% stake in the club, after failing to buy out the remaining 49% from chairman John Madejski. The club finally announced that Zingarevich had left the board after the season had finished. This lead the Madejski being in control of the sale of the club.

While that was happening, the club was forced to sell and release some key players - some of which haven't been replaced. Adam Le Fondre left to join Cardiff City, to help pay an outstanding HMRC tax bill, while Sean Morrison also headed down the M4. Alex McCarthy joined Queens Park Rangers, Kaspars Gorkss, Mikele Leigertwood and Jobi McAnuff were all released and Wayne Bridge retired. Due to the financial situation, only three permanent signings were made - Simon Cox, Anton Ferdinand and Oliver Norwood. Jamie Mackie and Glenn Murray were also brought in on loan. For the first game of the season, we had eleven academy graduates in the match day squad - some of which are in their first full season with the first-team squad. This was, in part, due to the smaller squad and in part due to an injury crisis, which had carried over from last season.

The season started relatively well and after seven games we sat sixth - with the only massively poor result being a 4-0 thumping at the hands of Nottingham Forest. Following this, a poor run of form occurred and we've fallen to seven defeats in the last twelve matches. The run of games included heavy losses to Brentford and Bournemouth, in games which are effectively local derbies. What's been noticeable is if we fall behind, the players seem to believe they can't win the game - we've only won three times under Nigel Adkins after falling behind.

This season has shown us that sometimes it's not the more established players that will play well for us, but the players who aren't just at the club for the money. Reading's highest payed player - Pavel Pogrebnyak - has hardly featured all season, with his solitary goal this term coming in a League Cup tie against Newport County. Former-Liverpool 'target' Alex Pearce has been consistently poor, compared to how he's performed for us in the past. He's only missed one game this season (Norwich) - due to suspension - and the defence looked much more solid without him (with a defensive pair that had a total of nine Championship games between them at the start of the season).

In my opinion, the main reason why we've dwindled this season is because Nigel Adkins is more likely to pick his team based on the reputation of the player, rather than the players who have been playing well. A number of times this season, we've seen the previous games' man of the match dropped from the starting XI.

Q: Can Reading get their promotion push back on track - what are your expectations for the rest of the season?

A: I think most Reading fans would be happy with a mid-table finish, this season. While the overall squad may be capable of finishing in a top-six position, I feel that a lack of mental strength could hurt us over the season. Other teams might not be as good as our squad on paper, but have much tougher mental strength and they'll probably finish the season above us.

A question that's been posed is: "Is Brentford's squad better than Reading's?". The answer is probably no, but the fact of the matter is that Brentford have a drive and a mental toughness that Reading, and other teams in the division, lack. The main reason why I believe mid-table is as high as we can hope for.

Q: Are you envious of the momentum that a new manager like Neil Lennon has brought to Bolton?

A: Your form under Lennon has been a transformation on what it was like at the end of Dougie Freedman's tenure. The only thing that you can ask of a manager is that they get the best our of the players that they have got - I feel Lennon is a manager that's able to do that.

There's been a lot of talk between Reading fans recently on whether Nigel Adkins should keep his job as Reading manager. The main point being that Adkins isn't really able to get the best out of our players - something that our previous manager, Brian McDermott, was able to do brilliantly.

I wouldn't say that I'm envious of the momentum, but I feel that it sometimes can just be getting the right manager into the club that can be the difference between a poor season and a good season.

Q: Who has been the star attraction so far this season, at the Madejski Stadium?

A: Due to the nature of the season, there hasn't really been a stand out player this season for us. It's no surprise when, after only nineteen games, there have been twenty-four different players to have started a game for Reading this season - plus a few more that have featured from the bench.

Out of the better players this season, Oliver Norwood has been impressive and looks to be one the best buys for us in recent seasons. His range of passing and his dead ball is something that we've lacked in the last few seasons. He's comfortable when tackling as well. Given that he's only 23, he could become a very good player for us in the future.

Q: Under the new management at Bolton, have you heard of any in-form players that should worry the Royals?

A: Based on what I've seen, Lee Chung-Yong is on a good run of form for you - and has started scoring under Lennon.

He seems quite pacey, looks good on the ball and is able to finish. I'm glad we don't have Alex Pearce, who's suspended, playing against him.

Q: Finally, what is your score prediction?

A: I'm going to go for a close game, but I think we'll edge it 2-1 with goals from Cox and Murray.

I'd settle for 7-1 though...

Burnden Aces would like to thank James for taking the time to answer our questions. You can read more from him by heading over to Royals Rendezvous.

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