Reading Football Club News: February 2018

Another Defeat And More Defensive Incompetence

27 February 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading's defensive performance plummeted to new depths of incompetence this evening and by their manager's own admission were let of lightly in only conceding three goals. The opening ten minutes were like a pantomime on ice as Reading's defence dithered on a snow-covered and blue-lined pitch and gifted United two good opportunities to take the lead, which they failed to take, before Sharp finally put them ahead after eleven minutes. A second United goal from Duffy just before half time looked to have secured an unassailable lead for the visitors. Remarkably Reading rallied after the interval when Richards slammed home the rebound from Bacuna's free-kick. The turning point came in the space of two minutes. In the sixty second minute Bacuna missed the chance to level the scores when substitute 'keeper Moore saved his penalty. A minute later United had controversially extended their lead though Sharp after Gunter had mistakenly put the ball out of play to allow treatment for Moore who was already back on his feet. United celebrated as Reading protested and Reading never looked likely to recover.

Reading Entertain In Home Draw With Derby

24 February 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Ironically a game in which both sides deprived of two experienced strikers, Martin and Kermorgant for Reading, and Vydra and Nugent for County, produced a flurry of goals in a highly entertaining draw. Arguably Reading could have won the game but for a series of calamitous defensive errors. Having gifted the visitors with an early lead they came back strongly with two very good goals from Kelly and Barrow. Frustratingly for Reading, more slack defending provided the Rams with an undeserved equaliser before half time. Derby started the second half strongly and unbelievably Reading's defence was punctured a minute after the restart.

Showing the resilience and character which has not always been evident this season, Reading came back again to level the scores through Bodvarsson ten minutes from time and looked likely to go on to take all three points as they piled on the pressure following the dismissal of Baird for a reckless challenge on Barrow.

Struggling A Little Bit At Home To Be Honest

23 February 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading host Derby County this weekend, as they continue to look for their first home win on a Saturday of the season. Home fans have had little to get excited about all season - particularly on Saturdays as the club continue to spiral down towards the bottom three places in the Championship. It's another tough fixture for the Royals who have failed to score a single goal in their last three home league fixtures. As Stam correctly points out: "We're struggling a little bit at home to be honest". A point would feel like an impressive achievement against a Derby County side who are fourth in the table and still looking to close the gap on the automatic promotion positions.

If there is a glimmer of hope for the Royals, who have won just one league game out of twelve, it is that Derby have also taken a dip in form with just a single win in their last six games. It is lined up to be a dull afternoon at the Madejski Stadium. Reading can't score at home, while Derby have also drawn a blank in their last two away games. Still football is a funny old game, and while a 0-0 draw would be a reasonable prediction, surely with both sides due goals we might hope for something different.

Recent fixtures with Derby have certainly provided lots of goals - so there is something to hang on to there. Our trip to Derby back in November 2017 is probably our best result of the season. We hit the road in 20th place that day, expecting another defeat against a side up the top of the table, but left Derby with three points having won by two goals and scoring a huge four. Moore, Aluko, Beerens and Barrow were all on the scoresheet as the Royals climbed to 18th - which is exactly where we still find ourselves. Half that haul of goals would be a massive achievement. Last season Derby were 2-3 winners at the Madejski Stadium, while the Royals took a point on the road.

Jaap Stam, under increasing pressure from the fans and media, will be forced to make one change from the team that so nearly picked up three points at Nottingham Forest in the week. Chris Martin is on loan from Derby so will be forced to sit this one out. In his place Bodvarsson, who was an unused substitute on Tuesday night is likely to step into the side with Kermorgant expected to miss out due to his calf injury. Otherwise Stam might not make any changes from a side that looked reasonable in the opening forty-five minutes in Nottingham.

However, Stam always likes to shuffle things around regardless of the most recent performance so other changes are always likely. John Swift will be hoping to make it to the bench as he is expected to be fit following his hamstring problems. Derby may be without both former Reading player Matej Vydra and Nugent up front, while goalkeeper Mitchell is also out injured.

Recent Meetings With Derby County

04 November 2017 Championship Derby (Away) W: 4-2 Read report...
21 January 2017 Championship Derby (Away) L: 2-3 Read report...
01 October 2016 Championship Derby (HOME) D: 1-1 Read report...
12 January 2016 Championship Derby (Away) D: 1-1 Read report...
15 September 2015 Championship Derby (HOME) L: 0-1 Read report...
02 May 2015 Championship Derby (Away) W: 3-0 Read report...
14 February 2015 FA Cup Derby (Away) W: 2-1 Read report...
18 October 2014 Championship Derby (HOME) L: 0-3 Read report...
23 September 2014 League Cup Derby (Away) L: 0-2 Read report...
15 March 2014 Championship Derby (HOME) D: 0-0 Read report...
21 September 2013 Championship Derby (Away) W: 3-1 Read report...
14 February 2012 Championship Derby (Away) W: 1-0 Read report...
18 October 2011 Championship Derby (HOME) D: 2-2 Read report...
07 May 2011 Championship Derby (HOME) W: 2-1 Read report...
18 December 2010 Championship Derby (Away) W: 2-1 Read report...

Could Stam Face The Chop And Who's Next?

22 February 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Jaap Stam has called for unity from Royals fans following the 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest, but it feels as though the door is getting ever closer for the Dutchman.

After a year and eight months at the club, and with his side slumped down in 18th, just four points off the drop, it seems like his time at the club may come to an end as Reading look to cement their position in the Championship.

It’s a far cry from the third place finish and Play Off Final of last year and with just three league wins since November, some fresh blood could be what they need to turn their torrid run of form.

The rest of the month and going into March they have a tough run with Derby, Sheffield United and Middlesbrough to come, which is putting them in real danger. Bookmakers and sites such as Tips Fix are seeing a small rise in people putting money on the Royals to go down, with Betfred now pricing them at 9/1 to face the drop.

Should a new face come in however, and those odds may change. Particularly if the Madejski is blessed with a spurt of new manager syndrome. But who could take the hotseat at Reading?

Mark Warburton

Mark Warburton has been out of work for just a month or so and could step right back into the saddle at Reading. He didn’t have the best of times at Forest, but has had some success with Rangers in Scotland.

At both Brentford and Rangers he had a win percentage of over 50% and if he could bring that to Reading for the final run in it would do them the world of good in their chances of survival.

Dennis Bergkamp

It would certainly be a bold move if the Reading board were to appoint another Dutchman, Dennis Bergkamp.

The Arsenal legend has been out of work since he was sacked as assistant by Ajax in December. The respect he would bring would be phenomenal though, even if it is the former striker’s first managerial post.

We think he’d be able to step up and certainly help solve the issue of goals at the Madejski and be that inspiration that can get them climbing the table.

Avram Grant

There has been a little talk with this one and we’re not convinced it would be a good appointment at all. Grant is 63 and is currently managing out in India. He does have a link with the Reading hierarchy however and they may call in a favour with him.

With no Championship experience and being a little over the hill and out of touch with highly competitive football over the last few years, it could be a struggle for the Israeli.

Thomas Christiansen

Former Leeds manager Thomas Christiansen will be shortlisted for a few jobs over the coming months you’d imagine following his dismissal just a few weeks ago. He didn’t do a terrible job with the West Yorkshire side and simply found his side in a bad run of form before getting the chop.

Before that he showcased the brand of football he can play and could well take Reading to the dizzy heights of last season given the chance. He’ll be favourite for a few jobs coming up so it’ll be interesting to see where he ends up.

Late Forest Goal As Royals Fail To Win Again

21 February 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

There was more disappointment for Reading fans on Tuesday night as the Royals conceded a late goal at Nottingham Forest to leave with just a single point. The Royals looked to be heading for only their second victory in 12 league games until Forest, also in a run of very poor form, equalised with five minutes left to play.

Reading had looked impressive in the opening half and deserved their half time lead after the excellent Omar Richards put Reading ahead with his first senior goal for the club on 35 minutes. After the break it was a different story as Reading faded and the home side looked likely to pull level as the pressure increased. Mannone was in fine form in goal for the Royals, but after Forest forced some saves and also hit the crossbar, the goal eventually came with five minutes left to play.

Despite dropping two points late on Royals boss Jaap Stam was pleased with the point and the performance: "The team worked very hard and the players did their best. It was important to get something out of the game, though we would have liked to have had more." The 1-1 draw sees the Royals remain in 18th place in the Championship table and just four points away from the bottom three.

Although there were definitely more positive signs earlier in the game and the emergence of Omar Richards continues to be a bonus, Reading remain deep in relegation trouble with the next 3 games all against teams in the top seven. Reading face Derby at home on Saturday, followed by Sheffield United also at the Madejski Stadium, before heading to run away leaders Wolves. Even without our current disastrous run of form we may have struggled to pick up any points in these games. Stam and his team will have to avoid three straight defeats or Reading may find themselves in the bottom three or marginally outside, and surely it will past the tipping point for Jaap Stam.

Stam On Brink After Another Home Defeat

04 February 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Any flicker of optimism generated by a convincing away win during the week at Burton, and the signing of two experienced Championship players before the transfer window closed, was quickly extinguished with a calamitous defeat at home to a well organised and determined Millwall side. There can be no doubt the visitors thoroughly deserved their win, but the nature of the defeat was painful for Royals supporters. Whatever could go wrong, did go wrong, on a damp, cold and miserable afternoon for the home fans.

Martin In And Beerens Out On Deadline Day

01 February 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading completed the incoming loan signing of striker Chris Martin from Derby County, and saw Roy Beerens leave the club, as the January transfer window closed. The transfers followed the loan arrival of Tommy Elphick from Championship side Aston Villa and loan departure of Adrian Popa earlier in the week. Elphick's deal was agreed in time to see the defender make his debut last night as he came off the bench with half an hour to play during the 3-1 Championship victory over Burton Albion.

With Yann Kermorgant struggling to find form after returning from injury, the goals have been hard to come by with Reading struggling for form. Chris Martin is seen as a possible solution to that problem. However, we shouldn't expect miracles - Martin has also struggled to find the net this season with just a single goal for Derby all season over 29 appearances. That goal, of course, was scored against the Royals when Reading recorded a 4-2 victory in Derby. But there is no doubt that Martin does have a career packed with goals and he will arrive at Reading hoping to find that goal-scoring form again.

Last season, while at loan on Fulham, he scored 13 for club and country. Before that he has had a long and successful time at Derby after signing on a free transfer from Norwich in 2013. He went on to score 64 goals for the Rams.

Roy Beerens spent a year and a half at Reading under Jaap Stam and showed plenty of promise before eventually struggling to claim a place in the starting eleven in recent months. Beerens returns to Holland and has signed permanently for Vitesse Arnhem after being present for the vast majority of last season. He made 43 appearances and hit 7 goals last season.