Q&A With Reading

  • March 06, 2018 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/768d6

With goal difference likely to be key to Championship survival, Bolton could be set for a long and uncomfortable night against Reading.

Those are the views of Royals supporter Mick Day (@MickDay99), who spoke to us ahead of their Sky Bet Championship clash with Wanderers on Tuesday.

In the following Q&A interview, Mick shares his views on Reading's failure to build on last season's top-six finish, the importance of one-time Bolton target Modou Barrow, as well as a personal opinion on Phil Parkinson - a man who he holds under legendary status.

Q: The reverse meeting between the two sides was interesting to say the least, with Wanderers throwing away the most comfortable of two-goal leads to be pegged back at 2-2. Reading kept possession well that evening but were generally regarded as the worst side to visit Macron Stadium this season. After last season's success, what has gone wrong?

A: Some would say they are the worst side to visit at the Madejski Stadium as well.

What has gone wrong? Good question. In the glow that surrounded our run to Wembley last May, it was easy to forget that we lost 7-1 at Norwich in April. The weakness of Stam's style was there to see, and a lot of coaches have learned from Alan Irvine's team that day.

Under the ownership of Sir John Madejski, Reading always played a fast moving attacking 4-4-2, honed by Alan Pardew, Steve Coppell and Brian McDermott during their times in charge.

But when our new owners took over and installed Stam and his gang, the system changed to a slow game built on possession with loads of short passing involving the goalkeeper and the defence. The crowd have never liked it and gates have dwindled.

Since last season our excellent goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi has left, USA international Danny Williams has joined Huddersfield and we're missing the 18 goals Yann Kermorgant scored. Meanwhile, players recruited to progress us in Stam's second season have been very disappointing. There's no buzz of success around the club at the moment.

Q: Despite last season's narrow miss at promotion, Jaap Stam was expected to push on this time around. However, with sentiment not something that is afforded to many managers in the modern game, can you see him remaining at the Madejski Stadium beyond the summer?

A: One win in 14 Championship games sees us bottom of the form-table by some way. But at the moment the owners are demonstrating great faith in him.

After the Wembley play-off he signed a contract extension until the end of 2018/19 season and here's what the owners said at the time.

"Jaap Stam has earned acclaim from far and wide, modestly playing down plaudits from his peers and pundits, receiving the unequivocal respect and admiration of his players, whilst meriting adulation from the Royals fans who avidly watched their side."

I kid you not! So I think he's here for a while yet.

Q: Modou Barrow was on the scoresheet at the weekend, taking his tally up to eight for the campaign. A former trialist at Bolton, and one who looked set to sign a couple of years ago, what are Wanderers fans missing out on?

A: Mo Barrow is a stand out player. He's been Man of the Match on four occasions and is well on his way to becoming Player of the Season. He occupies the left-wing slot that is so difficult to fill. His speed and skill put defenders under pressure and he's a really nice guy as well. Unfortunately, the rough attention he receives from defenders has caused too many games out injured.

Q: Phil Parkinson is a former Royals favourite, having represented the club on more than 400 occasions. Turning attention to his managerial ability, what have you made of the job he has done with the Trotters?

A: No question he is a Royals favourite. He was loved by the fans for always giving 100% and leaving everything on the pitch, as the cliche goes.

He did very well at Bradford City and I was surprised when he left for transfer-embargoed Bolton.

He is a good man and a no-nonsense manager. You've got a diamond geezer in charge of team affairs at Macron Stadium.

Q: Having lost Gary Madine to Cardiff City on transfer deadline day, Bolton are still trying to establish a new identity without their leading goalscorer. Of those who remain, who do you see posing the biggest threat to Reading's hopes of a midweek win?

A: Madine was a good strong player to have up front. Wanderers will miss his goals and assists.

Who is going to pose problems? No-one I hope, but if they play on Tuesday Adam Le Fondre and Jem Karacan will certainly raise their games.

Q: Finally, what is your score prediction for Tuesday's game?

A: Hard call, but in the end I feel goal difference will play a part in deciding who drops to League One - so I say 4-0 to Reading.

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Accrington Stanley 0 0
2 Barnsley 0 0
3 Bolton Wanderers 0 0
4 Bristol Rovers 0 0
5 Burton Albion 0 0
View Full Standings >>

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