News and Views

Promotion Chasing Burnley Next In League

12 February 2016
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading's hunt for a league win continues with yet another home fixture as promotion chasing Burnley visit the Madejski Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Burnley are third in the Championship but remain just two points off a top spot as they hunt automatic promotion. The Royals of course are back down in 15th and looking to secure a few vital points to stop far fetched talk of relegation after our slump in form. Reading have failed to win in any of their last five league games which has included three draws and two defeats. Reading have only found the back of the net three times over those five fixtures. Burnley have already scored 48 league goals this season compared to Reading's 33.

With striker Matej Vydra listed as an injury doubt, new signing Deniss Rakels will be hoping for a place in the side. Rakels played the last 11 minutes of Reading's 0-0 draw with Wolves last weekend and looked lively and keen to impress. He may be just the spark Reading need as they look to end a run of few points and few goals in the league. Danny Williams and Hal Robson-Kanu are expected to be available for selection despite having minor issues during the week, giving McDermott plenty of choice for his starting eleven. Tshibola will remain out of action after failing to successfully return from injury.

Brian McDermott will be starting to feel the pressure after failing to stop the decline in the short time he has been back as Reading manager. It is very early days in McDermott's second stint as Royals boss but fans and the board are equally impatient while waiting for the club's fortunes to finally reverse. McDermott has explained that it has been a very busy time since his return and accepts that it's time the results started to arrive: "I've had 12 games in eight weeks - it has been game after game, and we've had a transfer window involved. All sorts of stuff has been going on which has needed taking care of as far as the football is concerned. Now you feel that we can really start and get going and we've got a bit more time to work with the players to get the shape that we want and they style of play that we want, and get the results that we want."

Everything points to a Burnley win - apart from the result in our previous meeting earlier this season. Reading were 2-1 winners at Burnley back in September thanks to early goals from Nick Blackman and Lucas Piazon that put us ahead after just nine minutes. The result saw Reading move ahead of Burnley in the table, to third position, and was one of the early results that raised expectations of the season so high early on. Reading will have to improve dramatically from recent weeks to pull off a repeat of that result.

Recent Meetings With BURNLEY

26 September 2015 Championship Burnley (Away) W: 2-1 Read report...
03 May 2014 Championship Burnley (HOME) D: 2-2 Read report...
05 October 2013 Championship Burnley (Away) L: 1-2 Read report...
17 February 2012 Championship Burnley (HOME) W: 1-0 Read report...
15 October 2011 Championship Burnley (Away) W: 1-0 Read report...
03 January 2011 Championship Burnley (HOME) W: 2-1 Read report...
23 October 2010 Championship Burnley (Away) W: 4-0 Read report...
23 January 2010 FA Cup Burnley (HOME) W: 1-0 Read report...
12 May 2009 Championship Play-Off Burnley (HOME) L: 0-2 Read report...
09 May 2009 Championship Play-Off Burnley (Away) L: 0-1 Read report...
28 October 2008 Championship Burnley (Away) L: 0-1 Read report...
04 October 2008 Championship Burnley (HOME) W: 3-1 Read report...

Reading Face West Brom In Round Five

10 February 2016
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reaading will face Premier League side West Bromwich Albion in the fifth round of the FA Cup after they narrowly defeated League One Peterborough United on penalties in their fourth round replay this evening. The away side were 4-3 winners in the penalty shoot out. The two sides drew 2-2 in their first meeting to force the replay which finished 1-1 at full time and after extra time tonight.

Tickets are already on sale for the fifth round fixture, which will take place at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday 20 February (3pm kick-off). Season ticket holders have until Friday morning (12 February) to claim their reserved seat for the game before remaining seats are released on general sale. Once again the club have priced the fixutre at low prices to try and attract a crowd. Adults are priced at 10 pounds in advance and all other concession tickets are five pounds.

Goalless Stalemate As Reading Lack End Product

07 February 2016
By Alex Bower

"Sometimes you get a clean sheet and a point, you take it and you move on."
- Reading Manager Brian McDermott

"It was a hard battle today but it was a good performance from us. We controlled long spells of the game but couldn't quite get that goal."
- Wolves Manager Kenny Jackett

With Reading seemingly relying upon their home form to make a late push up the Championship table, their fixture at the Madejski on Saturday against Wolverhampton Wanderers was an important one. Reading fans have been treated in recent times at home to a number of goals but on this occasion they were left wanting.

The Royals extended their concerning run to five Championship games without a victory, with their latest 0-0 draw earning them a point but not doing much in way of confidence. Goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi and Captain Paul McShane were both vital in preventing a largely lacklustre Wolves making a breakthrough, but neither team really deserved the victory.

Reading manager Brian McDermott made a couple of changes prior to kick off, with Anton Ferdinand unlucky to lose his starting place at centre-back in favour of Paul McShane. Garath McCleary also started out wide, replacing Stephen Quinn.

Reading were the first to create a chance as Garath McCleary picked out Hal Robson-Kanu in the centre, but his effort was easily blocked by Wolves defenders. Former Reading player James Henry was in a threatening mood for Wolves, however, firstly being halted by Al-Habsi when he broke through the Reading defence and then narrowly missing with his twenty-yard shot.

A couple of half chances fell Reading's way before half-time, with Yann Kermorgant's shot being deflected wide and Jake Cooper's drive flying over following a corner. It was Wolves and Henry again who had the best opportunity to end the half, but his free-kick was impressively saved by Al-Habsi in the Reading goal.

In the second half, Chris Gunter did his best to throw the game away for Reading. Following a looped ball forwards by Wolves, Gunter messed up a headed backpass to Al-Habsi who had run out of goal to collect. Instead the ball fell to Henry once more but his slightly delayed effort gave the Reading goalkeeper enough time to get back and make another great save. Defensively Reading were struggling and were lucky to not be behind. With Ola John once again making an appearance from the bench, Reading could have gone on to win the game themselves. John broke down the left before picking out Matej Vydra in the centre. Passing the ball out to the edge of the box, Norwood followed up with a twenty yard curled effort which only narrowly missed Carl Ikeme's far post.

As the game approached the end, both sides had chances to score. Bjorn Sigurdarson had the first great opportunity when he broke through the centre of the Reading defence- only to be stopped by a last ditch Paul McShane slide tackle.

The surprise move of the game was the introduction of new signing Deniss Rakels for Reading, despite McDermott saying he needed to improve his fitness before featuring. The striker played a part in both of Reading's late chances and the early signs are promising for the player.

After a ball in from Norwood, Rakels initially missed a header before either falling over or diving in an attempt to win a penalty. In a very similar piece of play, another ball in from Norwood was instead headed down by Rakels to Kermorgant who controlled and hit the ball on the volley over the bar. Both sides created chances, with Henry arguably having the best, but it can be said that neither side really deserved the victory.

Looking back on the game, no player stood out more than Ali Al-Habsi. The Reading goalkeeper can be prone to making mistakes but his vital stops throughout the game earned the home side a point. This performance extends his impressive period of form which is currently keeping youngster Jonathan Bond out of the starting line-up.

Other than the performance of the keeper, Reading players struggled to make an impact all over the pitch. Robson-Kanu, who has had a decent run in recent games, was tamed throughout by the impressive Dominic Iorfa. Garath McCleary, who often offers a threat out wide, kept drifting in field and offered little going forward. Matej Vydra, who should be high on confidence following his goal-scoring run in the FA Cup, didn't seem that keen on shooting on any occasion and preferred to pass the ball back to the player who initially picked him out, losing the ball in the process.

One player who seemed to fall apart as the game went on was Chris Gunter. With such a large focus being placed on his contract, perhaps the defender is struggling under pressure. Following his failed backpass, on more than one occasion Gunter just stopped in his tracks for no apparent reason. This game will not have helped his cause in getting a new contract but there is still time to prove himself.

Someone who I am personally looking forward to seeing over the next few games, however, is Deniss Rakels. His transfer was one met with some bemusement as he was a signing supposedly made by the owners and was someone that I had never heard of. This being said, if the first few minutes he played in a Reading shirt are anything to go by then he could be an asset. The striker seems quick and had a few decent touches. His fall in front of goal seemed to be a bit of a strange one, especially if he wasn't pushed, but early signs are promising.

All in all, this game won't stay in the memory for long and Reading will no doubt be keen to improve. With Burnley up next, the tough tests keep coming for McDermott and Reading will be hoping for a positive result to take into their FA Cup game. As the Reading manager highlighted himself after this game, the Royals have a high quality squad on paper who are under-performing. There is something missing, they just need to find out what that is.

Reading Still Looking For League Win

06 February 2016
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading were left still looking for that elusive league win after they shared a point in a disappointing 0-0 home draw with Wolves. The draw made it five games without a victory for Reading as they continue to drift in the middle of the Championship table.

The draw was probably a fair reflection of the play after both sides failed to make a real impression on the game. Ali Al Habsi was definitely the busier of the two goalkeepers, but chances for either side were few and far between. Reading had more of the ball but rarely seemed brave enough to work themselves into a position to shoot on target. The Royals finished the stronger side but couldn't make the most of some late chances. It was another dull day at the Madejski Stadium all round as the football failed to inspire on a cold, wet, and windy afternoon.

It was the same old story as Reading made a very slow start to the game and only really got going in the later stages of the game when Ola John made his appearance from the bench. Hal Robson Kanu looked lively later on and Deniss Rakels had chances when he made his expected late appearance from the bench. Reading appeared to have a clear penalty when Rakels went down in the area - but the referee was having nothing of it. However, a Reading win would have been more than they had deserved. McDermott has plenty of work to do to prevent Reading drifting into trouble.