News and Views

Late Rotherham Goal As Points Shared

15 December 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading caretaker boss Scott Marshall remains without a win after his second game in charge ended in a frustrating 1-1 draw at fellow strugglers Rotherham United. After last week's 0-2 home defeat to Sheffield United, where Reading were very much second best, Marshall opted to make a few changes to the trip to Rotherham who were 3 points ahead of the Royals. Twenty year old Tom McIntyre, obviously very well known to Marshall, made his first team debut in defence. Up front youngster Danny Loader was back on the bench with Baldock making a start.

The Royals started strongly and were much the better side in the opening half. The choice of Baldock up front paid off inside the opening ten minutes. After sending an early effort just wide of the post it wasn't long before he was on the scoresheet. Minutes later a great pass from Sims into the area set Baldock up and he finished well to give Reading an early lead. It was Reading's first goal away from home since our 1-2 defeat at Birmingham in the middle of October.

Baldock continued to look dangerous and could have doubled Reading's lead before half time, putting one just over the crossbar and missing the target when he really should have done better. Sims, who had a decent game, nearly scored but his effort found the post, and the impressive Swift saw his goalbound shot well saved by the Rotherham keeper. Last weekend Reading failed to register a single shot on target, so this could definitely be seen as improvement.

However, the match flipped around after the half time break as Reading began to hang on. Jaakkola was again in good form with some good saves to prevent the equaliser. With Reading set to collect a rare three points the inevitable goal came with a minute left to play when Mattock scored from close range with little resistance from the Reading defence. It could have been worse when Rotherham put the ball just wide in stoppage time.

The point was enough to take the Royals out of the bottom three - above Millwall on goal difference. Reading travel to Millwall on Boxing Day in a match where they must avoid defeat. Before that we face sixth placed Middlesbrough at the Madejski Stadium next weekend.

Marshall Takes Team To Rotherham

14 December 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Scott Marshall will remain in temporary charge of the first team as they travel to Rotherham United this Saturday, in what is a relegation six pointer. The Royals, currently in the bottom three, would jump out of the relegation positions and above Rotherham if they can take all three points from the game.

Despite sacking Paul Clement almost out of the blue, the club management have been unable to find a replacement since last weekend's disappointing home defeat at the hands of Sheffield United. Plenty of names have been linked with the Royals but there has been no definite news as to who will be brave enough to take on the challenge of preventing Reading dropping into League One. Former Reading favourite Phil Parkinson, currently at Bolton and a place behind Reading, remains the favourite but there is nothing to suggest he will leave his current club for what would be a sidewise move to a club in trouble.

Luis Castro, the early favourite for the job, publicly stated he was not interested, but remains in the top three at most bookmakers. Gareth Ainsworth, who is currently enjoying some success with League One side Wycombe Wanderers has moved up to second favourite. However, Ainsworth is saying all the right things to keep Wycombe fans happy and it's difficult to see why you wouldn't be able to take his comments as face value: "I am flattered to be linked with a Championship club like Reading and, like any manager from the lower leagues, of course I want to manage at a higher level. However, I am very happy to continue to be Wycombe manager and whether the links are hearsay or not, I am very happy to be here. I love being manager of this football club and I am hoping to continue here for as long as possible."

Slavisa Jokanovic, Steve Bruce, and Graeme Murty remain contenders, but the reality appears to be that Reading are no closer to securing their next manager.

Meanwhile, Marshall will be focused on the trip to Rotherham and the need to avoid defeat at the very least. There has been some rare good news for Reading fans with both Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Yakou Meite expected to be close to making a return to action. With Reading struggling for goals, both are key players who have already found the net in decent proportions for their time on pitch this season. Reading failed to register an attempt on goal last Saturday and will be hoping for better things. Danny Loader continues to look likely up front and a real prospect but will hopefully be joined up front by Meite who can supply the strength to compliment his play.

Rotherham also have players returning from injury and will be hoping to go one better than their last two home games that both finished as 2-2 draws.

Parkinson New Favourite For Manager Job

11 December 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Former Reading midfielder Phil Parkinson is emerging as the favourite to become the next Reading FC manager after the sacking of Paul Clement last week. Parky, a firm fans favourite from his playing days, is currently manager of Championship strugglers Bolton Wanderers - one of only two sides below Reading in the Championship table. Parkinson is now evens with the bookmakers after the previous favourite, Portuguese manager of Vitoria de Guimaraes, Luis Castro distanced himself from the vacant position at Reading.

Those who put their money on Castro when it seemed a done deal will obviously be regretting that after he said he planned to stay at his current club to continue his progress there - and perhaps wait until a better offer comes along. With Nigel Howe back in charge at the club, he could well now turn to managers known from their time at Reading, such as Parkinson. Former Rangers boss Graeme Murty is also still high up on the list of possibilities at 22/1 - you can also try an online betting code. Steve Bruce was the early favourite before Castro and remains towards the top at 9/1.

Parkinson has had a mixed managerial career. Starting at Colchester United he earned them an unexpected promotion to the Championship. He then opted to move to Hull City on the back of his repuation and a promising young manager. That turned into a mistake as he lasted just 24 games and only managed to pick up 5 wins during his time at the club. He picked up his career as number two to former Reading manager Alan Pardew at Charlton. After Pardew left the club Parkinson become number one but oversaw a relegation to League One. After failing to earn promotion the next season Parkinson was sacked the following January.

His next job at Bradford City was where Parkinson hit the headlines for guiding Bradford, a League Two club into the League Cup final. His team beat Arsenal on penalties before a victory over two legs against Premier League Aston Villa took them to Wembley for the final. He went on to enjoy more cup success including a run to the FA Cup quarter-finals that was only ended by Reading at the Madejski Stadium. Parkinson's 274 games in charge at Bradford City saw him pick up 101 wins, 86 draws and 87 defeats.

Bolton have struggled with life in the Championship under Parkinson, and narrowly avoided the drop last season. However Parkinson has retained his job due to his past success with the club. After arriving at Bolton in the summer of 2016 he went on to have an impressive first season when he took them out of League One as runners up. During that season he was awarded manager of the month three times. Reading fans have already commented that Parkinson could be the right man to get us promoted out of League One should we be relegated, but question if he is the best choice for a relegation right - although he successfully avoided the drop last season. Should Parkinson be named manager he would certainly be given the full support of Reading fans due to his status at the club from his playing days.

The sacking of Clement, just two days before our league match against Sheffield United, now seems even stranger with no new manager lined up to replace him. It already felt the club was in turmoil but with Clement just 9 months into his role, and things starting to gradually improve on the pitch, the timing of his removal just feels wrong. Reading went on to fade badly in their game against the Blades and the 0-2 defeat was a fair score in a match played in front of just 12,000 spectators. That the club sent Clement marching with no immediate plans to replace him is incredibly frustrating. Reading are deep in relegation trouble and every point counts, and it feels like we threw away the chance of getting any last Saturday by unnecessarily rocking the boat.

Light At The End Of The Tunnel Extinguished

08 December 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Just when there were encouraging signs of progress on the pitch, with some improved performances in recent weeks, the owners of Reading Football Club stepped in re-appointing former CEO Nigel Howe and presumably approved his decision to sack manager Paul Clement in his first twenty four hours in post. The consequences of such a pre-meditated ill-advised and decision was plain to see in the disastrous outcome on the pitch today. After a run of five tough matches had produced six points, some excellent goals and only one narrow away defeat to high flying Leeds United, caretaker manager Scott Marshall was thrust into his new role with insufficient time to prepare his team for yet another tough game against a team chasing promotion. Following a bright first half, Reading faded badly after the interval and were completely outplayed by United before conceding two late goals.