Reading Football Club News: January 2018

Tommy Elphick Arrives On Loan

29 January 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading have completed the loan signing of centre back Tommy Elphick from Championship side Aston Villa. Elphick will stay with the Royals on loan until the end of the season. Elphick arrived at Villa from Bournemouth in the Summer of 2016 for a three million pound transfer fee, but after 26 appearances for Villa last season he has featured just six times this campaign. After two league cup appearances, including a red card in the home defeat to Middlesbrough, he played just four Championship games before arriving at Reading hoping to secure more first team football.

The loan arrival of Elphick follows the earlier season-long loan departure of winger Adrian Popa. Popa has now agreed a move to Al-Taawoun in Saudi Arabia after also finding first team football hard to come by at Reading. Popa has been at Reading for a year, making nine starts in all competitions.

After a busy summer in the transfer market, the January transfer window is expected to be much quieter for the Royals. Under-fire Reading manager Jaap Stam is not expected to have any budget for new signings and Elphick's arrival could be one of very few transfer movements either in or out. Any incoming transfers are likely to be loan-only deals as Reading face a relegation battle.

Brentford Take All Three Points

20 January 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading came off second best against an impressive Brentford side to slide closer to the wrong end of the table. Brentford had the look of team destined for a play-off spot and Reading had to raise their game to keep them at bay. It was an entertaining and open game with both teams having plenty of opportunities score the crucial opening goal. The Brentford winner came late in the game ironically immediately after they had presented Reading with a golden opportunity to take the lead which made defeat an even more difficult pill to swallow for Royals fans. Morale is now an issue and Reading will need to show character and resilience to pull out of the current slump. Staying positive is essential - and that includes the fans. When a team is fighting for points to stave off relegation they are not helped by the booing of their own 'supporters'.

A Win At Last: Royals Through To Round Four

16 January 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading eased their way into the Fourth Round of the FA Cup courtesy of a Jon Dadi Bodvarsson hat-trick to end the sequence of eight games without a win. Having a survived a jittery opening spell in which Stevenage might easily have scored a couple of goals, Reading finally settled down to play some good football; and having taken the lead with a Bodvarsson volley, never really looked in danger of losing their grip on the game. Stevenage managed to create sufficient chances to get back into the game but their finishing lacked the quality required to breach the Royals defence.

Replay Winners Travel To Carlisle Or Sheffield

08 January 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

The winners of Reading and Stevenage's FA Cup third round replay will travel to either Carlisle or Sheffield Wednesday in the fourth round of the competition. Like the Royals, Carlisle and Sheffield Wednesday also need to decide their fixture with a replay next week after a goalless match at the weekend in Carlisle. The other half of the fixture has a similar feel to Readings - Carlisle are also midtable in League Two - sitting three places above Stevenage.

The Royals drew 0-0 with Stevenage in a dull game on Saturday in which Reading were second best to the League Two side. Stevenage created the better chances and Jaakkola was forced into a couple of impressive saves to earn Reading a clean sheet. At the other end Reading rarely threatened during what turned out to be a very quiet afternoon for the home goalkeeper. The draw means The Boro will now need to travel to the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday 16th January for the replay. Tickets are already on sale for the replay with a very low crowd expected despite reasonable ticket prices. Children are just a pound in advance, adults are ten pounds and other concession prices are five pounds.

Stam Hopes FA Cup Provides Some Respite

05 January 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading take a welcome break from a hugely disappointing Championship campaign so far with a Saturday afternoon trip to Stevenage in the third round of the FA Cup. 45 league places seperate Reading from their League Two opposition. Some might think this game is ripe for an afternoon of 'giant killing'. Although Stevenage have hardly set League Two alight this season either, and currently sit midtable in 15th place, they have impressive recent home form in both league and cup.

With home advantage and the "magic of the cup" Stevenage will certinaly fancy their chances of progressing to round four after home wins against Nantwich in round one and Swindon Town in round two. Stevenage put five goals past both of those sides in earlier rounds, and their last two home games in the league have also seen big wins - 5-1 over Chesterfield and 4-1 over Cheltenham. With Reading's inability to keep clean sheets you would certainly expect The Boro to find the back of the net at some point. That means Reading are likely to need at least a couple of goals - and that could pose a problem on recent form.

This does seem set to be a difficult fixture for a Reading side hugely low in confidence. Confidence in the Reading manager is also at an all time low with things swinging against Jaap Stam, and the majority of fans now calling for a change in management. It may only be the FA Cup, and Stam is likely to field a changed and potentially weakened side, but another defeat against lower league opposition could be the hammering in of one of the final nails. Stam needs a victory. Any victory will do as Stam looks to the FA Cup to save the season and his tattered managerial reputation.

Recent form and weaker opposition on paper, will see Stam rest players who have featured in recent defeats. Hopefully some of the younger players will get a chance to be involved and see if they can turn the fortunes of the club around. Dramatic changes to the starting eleven would only be a good thing, and hopefully Stam can accept he may need to try different tactics against Stevenage.

The 0-2 home defeat against bottom side Birmingham on Tuesday was actually comparable to Reading's last match against Stevenage. That game, six years ago at the Madejski Stadium also in the FA Cup third round, was also a hugely disappointing performance from the Royals. Reading were dumped out of the FA Cup 0-1 by a superior Stevenage side on the day. They'll be hoping to repeat that success this weekend.


Recent Meetings With Stevenage

07 January 2012 FA Cup Stevenage (HOME) L: 0-1 Read report...
29 January 2011 FA Cup Stevenage (Away) W: 2-1 Read report...

Dismal Defeat Against Bottom Side Birmingham

03 January 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

The loyalty of the Reading fans is being tested to the limit with this latest dismal performance from their team. A second successive home defeat at the hands of teams in the bottom three without scoring appears to point to a struggle for survival for the rest of the season. City took the lead midway through the first half when Reading failed to clear a free kick and the ball fell invitingly to Maghoma inside the box who punished the mistake emphatically. Reading created chances but a second City goal from Gallagher on sixty-four minutes drained them of what little confidence and self-belief remained. A third City goal looked more likely than a reply from a dejected Reading. City deservedly moved off the bottom with their first away win of the season as the Royals now find themselves four points above the drop zone. Read More...

Fresh Pressure On Reading As Birmingham Visit

02 January 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

It's not been a good Christmas for Reading fans after Jaap Stam's side managed to pick up just a single point from three festive fixtures. Before Christmas got underway the Royals were sunk at home by relegation favourites Burton Albion after gifting the visitors the full three points. It went from bad to worse on Boxing Day with a poor performance at Bristol City as Reading slumped to a two goal to nothing defeat. Yann Kermorgant finally made his way onto the scoresheet last weekend with his first goal of the season after returning from injury, but his goal still wasn't enough to prevent Reading surrendering two points right at the death as strugglers Barnsley took a share of the points. Bristol City are doing well at the top of the table but dropping points to Burton and then Barnsley has started the alarm bells ringing once more.

The poor points return over Christmas extended Reading's miserable run to five games without a victory. Those five games have seen Reading pick up just two points from a possible 15. Reading's run up the table during November, which now appears to have given us false hope, feels like a distant memory as the Royals find themselves back down to 17th in the Championship table and just four points out of the relegation zone.

Tonight's visitors are bottom of the table Birmingham City. The Blues have picked up just 20 points all season (from 25 games so far) and have failed to win a single league match on the road. Birmingham have picked up just three points all season from their 12 away league matches. If there was ever a game Reading fans expect to win it is this one. Failure to win tonight would surely exponentially increase the pressure on Reading manager Jaap Stam. This time last month Reading fans were celebrating a 3-1 victory over Sunderland and a late challenge for the play-offs was sneaking into post-match conversations. Those hopes have since evaporated and instead it will be the "R" word heavily featured in discussions - should Birmingham leave tonight with the win. However, it's not all doom and gloom as a Reading victory tonight would see us climb back up to 15th.

Ominously Birmingham have had a draw on the road at Sunderland, and a home victory over Leeds in their last three games. Although that might not be seen as exactly "hot form" it could well be something for them to build on as they come to the Madejski Stadium looking for their first away win of the campaign. If they are ever going to win away from home they'd fancy this as an opportunity after seeing Burton Albion leave with three points.

Reading found some form back in November when they fielded an unchanged side in consecutive games for the first team in the entire season. Stam shuffled his team around on the back of some good wins and found everything crumble around him once again. It remains consistency that is the problem for Reading, but something needs to change again after some poor results. It seems highly likely there will be fresh, and necessary, changes tonight. Liam Kelly could find himself back in the side while Kermorgant will be hoping for another full ninety minutes after playing the whole game at Barnsley.


Recent Meetings With Birmingham City

26 August 2017 Championship Birmingham (Away) W: 2-0 Read report...
31 January 2017 Championship Birmingham (Away) W: 1-0 Read report...
13 September 2016 Championship Birmingham (HOME) D: 0-0 Read report...
09 April 2016 Championship Birmingham (HOME) L: 0-2 Read report...
08 August 2015 Championship Birmingham (Away) L: 1-2 Read report...
22 April 2015 Championship Birmingham (HOME) L: 0-1 Read report...
13 December 2014 Championship Birmingham (Away) L: 1-6 Read report...
22 March 2014 Championship Birmingham (Away) W: 2-1 Read report...
28 September 2013 Championship Birmingham (HOME) W: 2-0 Read report...
28 April 2012 Championship Birmingham (Away) L: 0-2 Read report...
06 November 2011 Championship Birmingham (HOME) W: 1-0 Read report...