News and Views

Blackpool Game Is A Must Win For Reading

24 October 2014
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading's home game against bottom of the table Blackpool this weekend has suddenly become a must win for the Royals. It seems strange that Blackpool at home at this stage in the campaign is so significant. Adkins will already be feeling the pressure, but a further game without victory will see Adkin's position seriously called into question for the first time since he took over from Brian McDermott. Adkins has had his ups and downs, although less ups, since overseeing Reading's relegation into the Championship, but a defeat would be a new low point for Adkin's reign.

The early part of the season was dominated by talk of the Thai takeover but the results weren't too bad as Reading made their way up to sixth in the Championship. It was after the takeover finally officially completed that Reading slide down the table started. The Thai owners haven't seen a win since they took over and were seen leaving early as Reading crashed at Bourneouth.

Reading's run without a win stretched to seven games on Tuesday as the Royals lost 0-3 for the second time in four days. It was the third straight defeat where Reading had let in three goals. Those three games have seen the Royals score just one goal themselves. Reading haven't been terrible but just look vulnerable and lacking in confidence. The defensive mistakes continue and we keep getting punished for it. On Tuesday we were the better side in the first half at Bournemouth before collapsing immediately after half time. Against Derby we had plenty of chances to score, and could have been ahead early on in the game. We could then have got back into the game when both one and two down, but effectively gave up when the third went in. But as any manager will tell you "It's a results business".

If things are bad for Reading, they are far worse for visitors Blackpool. Blackpool have won just the single game all season - although you could argue their form is better than Reading's as their 1-0 home victory against Cardiff came just three matches ago. There's no doubt that this is a fixture between two struggling sides but Reading's home advantage and Blackpool's record of just 6 points from a possible 39, mean Reading fans will only accept a decisive win.

Perhaps there is some light at the end of the tunnel for Nigel Adkins as players look, at last, to be returning from long term injury. Danny Guthrie, who has already featured this season, will be available for selection against Blackpool. Better news is that Danny Williams, Garath McCleary and Anton Ferdinand are all expected to be returning after successfully returning to training this week. Williams and McCleary are completing their recovery from summer operations and could make a real difference as they return in November.

Blackpool's last visit to the Madejski Stadium saw Reading win 5-1 in January this year when Le Fondre scored a hat-trick. Pogrebnyak and Robson-Kanu were also on the scoresheet that day.


Royals Crumble At Bournemouth

21 October 2014
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading's poor form continued with another sound defeat in the Championship. After Saturday's home defeat against Derby County it was Bournemouth's turn to hit three goals past Reading without reply. This latest defeat makes it four games out of five that the Royals have let in three. This defeat makes it seven games without a win. That run includes six league games in which Reading have picked up just two points.

Adkins named an unchanged defence but was forced to make changes upfront with Murray reported to be suffering a minor hamstring injury. Murray's absence allowed Blackman to start but Pogrebnyak, who might have expected to be the replacement, remained on the bench. Hope Akpan was back in midfield with Jake Taylor relegated to the bench.

Tonight Reading looked on track to pick up what might have been a valuable point, going in at 0-0 at half time and having the best of the first part of the game. However, Reading's strong start faded towards the break and faded even faster after half time. The defensive frailties were on full display throughout the second half and Reading had Federici to thank for keeping the score down. Reading went a goal down on 50 minutes and the home side scored two more within 14 minutes to wrap up a 0-3 victory. Pogrebnyak was thrown on late on but Reading were already well beaten and chances up front were again not taken as things continue to not go Reading's way.


Adkins Needs To Make Changes At Bournemouth

21 October 2014
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Nigel Adkins has threatened to make big changes to the starting eleven ahead of tonight's Championship game at Bournemouth. The Royals are struggling in the wrong half of the table and haven't won a game in six attempts. On Saturday Reading slumped to a disappointing 0-3 defeat against Derby County at the Madejski Stadium. It was the third time in four games that the Royals had let in three goals in a game. Once again it was a story of defensive mistakes and missed chances up front. Leaking goals is Reading's biggest problem - but mistakes have been spread widely across the side, and it's not clear who might find themselves left out as Adkins attempts to tighten things up at the back.

The problems aren't just in defence. Murray started well when he arrived on loan, immediately scoring two goals but he's managed just one goal in the next seven games. Pogrebnyak came off the bench at the weekend but missed an absolute sitter from close range. Oliver Norwood has been excellent since signing for Reading and followed that up with impressive performances for his country, but he looked a shadow of himself against Derby. It seems as if confidence is starting to slip away across the side, and suddenly the Bournemouth game has taken on big importance, as Reading attempt to stop the slide and boost morale. A win would set us up nicely ahead of the visit of bottom of the table Blackpool next Saturday. A defeat would heap enormous pressure on Reading before a game in which they will be expected to win with ease.

Reading were sixth before the current run of four defeats and two draws (that includes a double defeat to Derby County in League and Cup). We've dropped to 16th place and are five points away from both the bottom three and the top six. Our last away league win was back in August when Reading were 1-0 victors over Middlesbrough when Cox scored the only goal of the game. While Reading have slipped, tonight's opposition Bournemouth have climbed. Bournemouth are in fine form, moving up to ninth after a home win over Charlton at the weekend. The Cherries have won four our of their last five games, and the only defeat was also to Derby who seem capable of beating everyone right now.

Our recent history against Bournemouth hasn't been great. We've lost three out of the last four and have to go back six games for our last win, when Reading won away 2-1 thanks to goals from Jamie Cureton and Martin Butler inside the opening nine minutes. Last season Bournemouth picked up the full six points with a 1-3 home win and a 1-2 victory at the Madejski Stadium.


Six Without Win As Derby Win By Three

18 October 2014
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading fell to a sixth game without a win as Derby County secured a 0-3 victory against the Royals at the Madejski Stadium. Despite the convincing score line, Reading might have done better after having been the superior side for periods of the game. However Derby were the more clinical up front and also better organised defensively. This certainly wasn't the worst performance of the season but the latest defeat, and another three goals leaked, leaves Reading struggling in 16th place.

Reading started the game brightly and might have taken the lead themselves when Cox put a header just over the crossbar. Derby scored on 18 minutes with their first effort on target as Reading failed to deal with a corner and the ball was headed through the legs of Robson-Kanu on the line. Reading were nearly on the scoresheet when Murray saw his headed effort hit the Derby crossbar. Before half time it was 0-2 when Reading's defence was split enabling Derby to cut in and score with an impressive finish inside the far post.

Nigel Adkins was forced to make a triple substitution with twenty minutes left to play to try and get back into the game. Pogrebnyak really should have dragged Reading back into contention when the ball came to him from a rebound - it was a simple finish from close range but he managed to put it wide.

Had Reading made it 1-2 at a stage of the game when they were well on top it might have been different outcome. Instead the visitors scored a third and killed the game off. Apart from a double save from Adam Federici, Derby had scored with their only real efforts on target.