We’re now five games into the season, and time to reflect on what’s happened so far. The performances certainly warrant more than two points, but definitely not 15. Five or six would be a fair return, but as everyone knows, the Championship simply doesn’t work like that.
The performance in the curtain raiser against Derby was a huge test for the players, fans, and Paul Clement. Reading certainly didn’t deserve to lose the game, nor away at Nottingham Forest. Sadly, six points were lost despite relatively positive performances.
Although this league is a results business, it should at very least have given the squad confidence. The Biscuitmen got a welcome victory against Birmingham in the Carabao Cup, and can look forward to welcoming Watford, off to a perfect start in the Premier League, this week.
Things went rather sour just days later however, as the performance at home to Bolton was one of the worst seen for a long time. I have seen Reading play better and lose by a far worse score line! It was a huge step backwards for everyone at the club. A dreadful atmosphere at the Madejski (nothing new there), coinciding with a simply woeful 94 minutes of football made for a terrible afternoon in RG2.
At this stage, injuries had started to mount up, with key figures Barrow, Aluko and Ilori all missing games.
Josh Sims was brought in on loan from Southampton between the Bolton game and Reading’s next fixture away at Ewood Park. Reading were very comfortable at half time in that game, after two well taken finishes from Jon Dadi Bödvarsson, in what was a very good first 45 minutes. The second 45 however was not, Captain Paul McShane giving away twi penalties that were both converted. The skipper took a lot of flack on Twitter, myself included, after his performance. Aside from the two penalties, he had a poor game against Bolton, and his first half performance against Blackburn wasn’t up to standard.
Subsequently he was missing from this weekend’s smash-and-grab draw away at Aston Villa. Having been largely poor throughout, new singing Sims earned his side a 93rd minute penalty, with Sam Baldock opening his Royals account for the spot. It may well prove to a be a vital goal for him, his manager and indeed everyone at the club. It was proof that the squad is capable of picking up points despite playing poorly.
For future games, I’m hoping to see a more settled side, because at this stage Clement still doesn’t know his best starting XI. I would also like a quiet end to the loan window. I would rather Clement use his squad, and young players, than look to bring in new blood. If anyone is to come in, then they will have to either a Josh Sims esque signing – a young hungry player from the top division, or an established, no-nonsense signing.
Injured players will start to come back in the next few weeks and all of us Reading fans can’t wait to see Jordon Obita back out on the pitch!
Up the Biscuitmen!
Picture Credit: Reading FC