News and Views
Three Games To Secure Championship Football
20 April 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?
Reading hit the road this weekend hoping to take some of their home form with them on their travels. Since Paul Clement took over as Reading boss after the departure of Jaap Stam, the Royals have picked up 7 points from a possible 9 to ease relegation fears. Although Reading are still not yet safe from the drop, a victory at Sheffield Wednesday would almost certainly mean that the Royals will be playing Championship football again next season.
However, a Reading defeat combined with a Barnsley victory at Leeds United would make for very nervous times as the season draws to a close. After Saturday's trip to Hillsborough, Reading wrap up the season with a home game against Ipswich Town before ending the season at promotion chasing Cardiff City. With just three games left it is definitely all to play for as Reading, Bolton, Birmingham and Barnsley all look to drop each other into the final relegation place with Sunderland and Burton already looking doomed. Reading fans will be keeping their eyes on the scores at Birmingham who play at home against Sheffield United and Bolton who host already promoted Wolves. Reading could off course stay up without winning another game, but it would be great to secure some points and avoid the bottom three due to our own efforts.
Sheffield Wednesday themselves weren't far from the bottom three earlier this year, but four wins from their last six games has guaranteed them a mid-table finish and they will go into the game with nothing to play for. Having picked up form recently they are favourites for the win and also have the luxury of the return from injury of a number of first team players. Clement will have the same squad to pick from this week after last weekend's 2-2 home draw with Sunderland. Bacuna will still be missing from the team due to suspension after his red card at Fulham. On-loan Tommy Elphick, who looked so good on his arrival, could return before the end of the season as he has returned to training but this game will come too soon.
Reading's recent form against Sheffield Wednesday has been excellent despite our FA Cup defeat at Hillsborough earlier this season. Before that we were undefeated in six games against them including a 2-0 away win in our last league fixture at their place. Kermorgant and Popa scored the all important goals in that fixture roughly this time last year. Earlier this season we shared the points in a game with no goals at the Madejski Stadium.
Recent Meetings With Sheffield Wednesday
|26 January 2018||FA Cup||Sheff Wed (Away)||L: 1-3||Read report...|
|25 November 2017||Championship||Sheff Wed (HOME)||D: 0-0||Read report...|
|17 March 2017||Championship||Sheff Wed (Away)||W: 2-0||Read report...|
|10 December 2016||Championship||Sheff Wed (HOME)||W: 2-1||Read report...|
|23 January 2016||Championship||Sheff Wed (HOME)||D: 1-1||Read report...|
|19 August 2015||Championship||Sheff Wed (Away)||D: 1-1||Read report...|
|31 January 2015||Championship||Sheff Wed (HOME)||W: 2-0||Read report...|
|20 September 2014||Championship||Sheff Wed (Away)||L: 0-1||Read report...|
|08 February 2014||Championship||Sheff Wed (HOME)||L: 0-2||Read report...|
|02 November 2013||Championship||Sheff Wed (Away)||L: 2-5||Read report...|
Paul Clement Asks Royals To Step Up For Final Games
17 April 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?
Paul Clement described Reading’s 2-2 draw against bottom side Sunderland a missed opportunity and has issued a rallying cry to his players to step up and secure their Championship status after a truly forgettable season.
Their draw against the Black Cats perhaps sums up the clubs problems, with the club being saved by a late equaliser from Yann Kermorgant. That leaves them five points ahead of the drop zone with three to play.
Barnsley have the opportunity to close that gap by three points with their game in hand against Nottingham Forest next Tuesday, which means there’s still plenty to play for.
Clement wasn’t impressed with Saturday’s performance and has encouraged the players to play smarter. Following the game he said, “The more we play like we did against Sunderland, the more it’s in the lap of the gods what will happen.”
Despite this, Clement has lost only two of his five games in charge of the Royals, both against teams challenging for automatic promotion, while they’ve also picked up vital wins against Preston and QPR.
Sheffield Wednesday is next for Clement. Bookmakers across sites like www.top100bookmakers.com are placing the South Yorkshire side as clear favourites, despite sitting just three places above Reading in 16th.
It’ll be a big game for the club, who could help calm the nerves of those around the Madejski with a win, but Ipswich at home the following weekend is the one that could really put daylight between them and the bottom clubs with a win.
Ipswich are without a manager and have one just one of their last five games, so are there for the taking. Clement is staying calm about the situation, following a relegation battle with Swansea last season.
He added, “We need points in the next three games to make sure we're safe but we have to make sure we don't get in the situation where we have to get a result otherwise there is a consequence.”
So far this season Reading have managed to avoid that. They’re yet to enter the relegation zone this season and their fate will remain in their own hands if Clement can continue their current run of form.
He believes his side are ready to step up to the challenge, and next week’s Ipswich game could be the day it gets sealed. It’s certainly the game where the points look available. Going to Cardiff on the last day of the season needing a result is not where Clement wants to be.
It’s not where we want to be either!
|Championship Table at: 17 April 2018|
Clement Keeps His Unbeaten Home Record
14 April 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?
With so much at stake for both sides the tense and cautious first half of this match was to be expected. However when Liam Kelly put Reading ahead from the spot after twenty minutes the game quickly gathered momentum culminating in a chaotic finale in which both teams spurned excellent opportunities to snatch the crucial winning goal. The 2-2 draw may have lacked nothing in terms of drama but left Sunderland almost certainly relegated and Reading far from safe.
Reading Paying Third Highest in Agents Fees
12 April 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?
The Championship table is upside down, at least according to a new report that has revealed the staggering amounts paid to agents in the Championship.
While the Royals are struggling in 19th place, they've paid a huge £2.85million in agents fees, the third highest in the division.
It's a worrying figure for the club, who have failed to build on the progress in the play-offs last term. What that means is that if they're to bounce back next season those fees may be even higher.
Only Aston Villa and Sunderland have larger fees, with the former paying over £5.5million. At least they're challenging though.
Bookies and sites such as Bet and Skill continue to have us down as second favourite for every game, while the Villans are hotly tipped to return to the Premier League.
Amazingly, Wolves, who have been heavily helped by Jorge Mendes paid just £2million in agents fees, which would perhaps say some remain confidential.
That looks the case within the transfer of Tiago Ilori, whose transfer is omitted from the official FA list of agents fees.
Included in the list is the record fee for Sone Aluko and moves of Leandro Bacuna and Joey van der Berg.
New contracts for Yann Kermorgant, Liam Kelly and Jordan Obita are also included on top of a number of youth contracts.
Agents fees have been a worry for some time now on football, and it's perhaps why The FA have gone to the lengths they have to pass law to reveal them.
What's perhaps most frustrating from a Reading point of view is that on the pitch it hasn't done us any favours.
Aluko has netted just twice and Leandro Bacuna has made just 13 appearances for the club. You can't help but feel the fees should at least be representative of the position in the table.
Otherwise that's £2.85million squandered. Wasted when it could have been spent on another signing.
It isn't just in the Championship where the fees are phenomenal though. As you can imagine, the figures in the Premier League are baffling. Liverpool have spent over £200million in the last year, while even Bournemouth have forked out over £7million.
What's perhaps most shocking is further down the leagues. In the National League, that's non-league football, Leyton Orient spent nearly £40,000 while Hartlepool United, a team who have had severe financial problems have spent almost £19,000.
If there ever needed to be a sign that players and their agents are taking over the beautiful game, here it is. And you have to worry it's only going to get worse.