Reading Football Club News: November 2018

Meite Shows Why He Deserved New Contract

12 November 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

There were more than a few eyebrows raised when striker Yakou Meite was awarded a huge new four year contract at the start of October. At the time it was fair to say that, despite his effort, Meite was hardly looking like the kind of player to be regularly banging the goals in. Shortly after signing his new deal he has gone on to score six goals in just five Championship games. It feels like Meite has come from nowhere to find himself working his way up the Championship's top goalscorers list. It wouldn't be a bad idea to request a bet on Meite finishing as the Division's top scorer. Brentford's Neal Maupay leads the scoring charts with 12 goals, so Meite has plenty of ground to make up, but Brentford's form has dipped after losing their manager to Aston Villa - while Reading fans remain hopeful of a change of fortunes.

Meite also scored in our 2-0 league cup win over Birmingham but he is starting to look a much improved player since even the start of the season. Meite scored two excellent goals during Saturday's 2-2 draw with Ipswich. The first a well taken overhead kick from an angle, the second was a vital goal for a late equaliser when he directed his header into the side of the net. It was the celebration that showed how much it meant to Meite as he charged towards the fans with his arms out wide, quite literally roaring. The goals, the effort and determination, and his clear desire has propelled him to the top of the popularity rankings at Reading Football Club. As John Wells put in his report of the Ipswich game: "Without Meite's contribution in terms of goals and work rate in recent games Reading would be in much deeper trouble by now."

After arriving from Paris Saint Germain over two years ago, Meite had limited chances at Reading. After some games in the 2016/2017 season, making 15 appearances and scoring just once, he spent the next season out on loan at French side Sochaux. When he returned to Reading this summer and made his return to the first team expectations weren't exactly high. Meite has proved any doubters wrong and is already paying off the club's faith in him. Speaking after the weekend Meite's confidence is clearly high: "I think I'm on fire at the moment. It's great, I just need to keep on going. This is one of the best parts of my career. I'm scoring consistently and I just need to stay confident."

Meite's form has also earned him an International call up, and he will be hoping to feature for Ivory Coast as they play Guinea on Sunday and Rwanda next Thursday in the Africa Cup of Nations qualification games. After an injury scare before the Ipswich game, when he was declared a doubt to start, Reading fans will be hoping Meite has success with his country but returns full fit and ready to play a part in some tough Championship games. After the International break the Royals travel to Wigan and Leeds hoping to pick up some points to stay out of the bottom three.

Draw Takes Reading Out Of Bottom Three

10 November 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading climbed out of the relegation zone with a draw against bottom of the league Ipswich Town. Under recently appointed manager Paul Lambert, Town presented more of a challenge that many had expected. As so often happens under a new manager Ipswich were galvanised by Lambert's arrival and started on the front foot. In a chaotic opening ten minutes they took an early lead through Edwards, immediately conceded a brilliant equaliser by Meite, and then regained the lead when Sears took full advantage of some appalling Reading defending. Throughout the first half Reading were sluggish and conceded possession with remarkable regularity, and rarely threatened the visitor's goal. In contrast Ipswich were full of energy and aggression and had Jaakkola not pulled off a couple of smart saves the game would have been over by half time. Thankfully for Reading the second half was a different story. Meite confirmed his status the current home fans' favourite heading a deserved equaliser six minutes from the end and, if Baldock had managed to put away one of the two excellent chances created for him in the final minutes, Reading would have taken all three points from an Ipswich side which by then had well and truly retreated into their shell.
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Royals Favourites As Ipswich Visit

09 November 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading's solid home form has ensured that they are the favourites to pick up another precious three points when they host Ipswich on Saturday. The Royals are already facing up to the prospect of a long battle against relegation, but fans can take some solace from their results at the Madejski Stadium. They beat Bristol City 3-2 at the weekend to make it three wins out of their last four home games and that should give the players confidence. Ipswich sit bottom of the table and this really is the sort of game Reading must win if they are to beat the drop.

The best betting websites have odds on this game and they have Reading as the favourites at 6/5 or 5/4, while the draw is 23/10 and Ipswich are out at 9/4. The Tractor Boys have lost their last two away trips, losing 2-0 to Leeds and 3-0 to Millwall, and their situation looks pretty dire. Three teams go down in the Championship and Ipswich are the clear, odds-on favourites to do so, while Bolton are also odds-on at 8/11 to be relegated. Then Rotherham are 10/11 and Reading are 5/4, so the bookmakers predict the Royals could escape the ignominy of relegation by the skin of their teeth.

Most Reading fans would have been horrified by the prospect of a 21st place finish at the start of the campaign, but a fair few would take it now. They have not been too horrendous on the road, where they have one win and three draws to give them a better away record than six rivals. But at home only Hull, Bolton and Ipswich have fared worse than them. Yet that it down to the fact that they lost their opening four home games of the season. Since then they have staged a bit of a resurgence, beating Bristol, Millwall and Hull.

They desperately need to maintain that momentum and vanquish a relegation rival when Ipswich roll into town on Saturday. "I think I can stay another week, which is nice," said beleaguered boss Paul Clement after the win against the Robins at the weekend. "It was an important result, we had lost the previous two games, we were in the bottom three and still are, though it's a little bit tighter so we're not stranded. A lot of pressure has been building because of performances and results, so it's a really good feeling to win at home and hopefully we can use it as a bit of a springboard now which is something we haven't managed to do so far this season."

Clement had his midfielders to thank for the victory over mid-table Bristol City. Liam Kelly and Leandro Bacuna both got on the score sheet and they were purposeful in their running throughout the game, while academy product Andy Rinomhota earned rave reviews for his performance. Yakou Meite should also take encouragement from his goal and Reading now need to discover a modicum of consistency.

They have not won consecutive games for an entire year, as they last picked up back-to-back victories over Barnsley and Sunderland back in November 2017 under Jaap Stam. Clement's team could not have been presented with a better opportunity to end that woeful record as Ipswich have taken just 10 points from 16 games and they are winless in their last four. Ipswich have already lost six of their eight away games this season, and Reading have the ability to gun them down on Saturday. They have already rolled the dice, bringing in Paul Lambert to replace Paul Hurst at the end of October, but the results are yet to pick up and the Royals must ensure it does not happen against them.

Reading Make It Three Home Wins From Four

03 November 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading finally produced the kind of performance their fans have been craving all season. Having twice taken the lead, and on each occasion meekly conceded an equaliser shortly afterwards, Reading fans awaited the second half with a degree of apprehension. However today the Royals regained the lead with a superbly created and finished goal midway through the second half, and produced a gritty kind of rearguard action which has seemed beyond them so often this season. Paul Clement must be delighted, and just a little relieved that his team, having scored three very good goals, found sufficient collective will and determination to hold on to their richly deserved lead to claim a valuable three points. The Reading manager, having endured listening to some pretty damning statistics about his team this season, was quick to point out that this was their third win in the last four home games. It was day when everything worked out in the end and the fans responded favourably doing their bit sensing their team had decided enough was enough and were determined not to let this one slip away. Read More...

Who could replace Paul Clement?

01 November 2018
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Paul Clement

Reading's manager looks to be nearing the exit door, but who can take the reins at The Royals?

The fate of Reading boss Paul Clement looks to be sealed following a ninth league defeat of the season, after a 2-0 loss at Swansea City last weekend left The Royals in the relegation zone.

Reading have won just three of their fifteen Championship games this season and although Clement remains in a job ahead of this weekend's fixture with Bristol City at the Madejski, the 46-year-old's time at the club looks to be numbered. Clement is currently the favourite across betting apps sites to be the next Championship manager to leave his position.

It would take a monumental turn in fortunes for Clement to survive into the Christmas period, with his side registering just five wins in the league since he took charge in March, against five draws and 13 defeats. Speculation over Clement's future provided the backdrop to defeat at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, with reports suggesting Steve Bruce is being eyed as a potential replacement. 

Bruce was sacked by fellow strugglers Aston Villa in early October and is currently on holiday with family in Barbados, while the 57-year-old has not enjoyed an extended break from the pressures of football management since the first-half of 2012 before joining Hull City.

Whilst Bruce is currently the hotly-tipped favourite to take over from Clement therefore, a lot can change in football in a short space of time and should he decided not to jump back in yet, the Reading board will need to have earmarked alternative options. There are however other candidates that Reading could approach to fill the role.

Mark Warburton was heavily linked with the Reading job in March before the board instead opted for Clement, but remains out of work since being sacked by Nottingham Forest last New Year's Eve. The 56-year-old former Rangers boss has had plenty of time to plot his next move since and could be refreshed and ready for another stint on the touchline.

Meanwhile, the experienced Nigel Pearson is another consideration, having previously managed Southampton, Hull City, Derby County and Leicester City, who he twice won promotion with (from League One and the Championship). Pearson is currently the manager of Belgian First Division B side OH Leuven, whom he guided to a second-place finish last season, but was in line for the Middlesbrough job before they appointed Gary Monk last year and may relish the chance to return to England. With Pearson's experience, he could be a shrewd appointment as Reading look to stabilise and beat the drop.

Whoever takes over from Clement, or even if he somehow manages to hold on to the manager's job, Reading need to start climbing the table fast. They are currently 11/10 with SkyBet to be relegated from the Championship this season, making them fourth favourites to go down at present, highlighting how far they have fallen since Jaap Stam guided them to the play-offs two seasons ago.