News and Views
Keepers And Defenders - Staying Or Going?
03 April 2020
By Hob Nob Anyone?
There is huge uncertainty across football with clubs and players unsure of when they will return to action, and what that will mean for completing the season. There are also question marks over players contracts, some of which will expire in the summer when games could be set to play. We look at Reading's goalkeepers, and some defenders to see how they could be placed when football returns.
Rafael has made a huge impact on the team and he has put in some fantastic performances so far since arriving on a free last summer. He still has two full years left on his contract and, as a popular first choice keeper, looks set to stay at Reading. This would be great for the team and it would also mean that they have someone solid who they can rely on. If you want to bet on him to save a certain amount of goals then there are various sports betting sites can help.
28-year-old Sam Walker has admitted that he has a big decision to make at the end of this campaign. Walker has been a bit of a part-time player since he made the switch from Colchester and he has a year left on his contract with the Royals. He would have been hoping to become Reading's first choice keeper, but Rafael has firmly claimed that spot. If the chance arises for him to play football, day in, day out for another team then we can expect him to leave. With other young goalkeepers coming up through the academy it seems unlikely he will be offered a new contract over the next season.
The Icelander looks to have signed a brand-new contract. This is going to keep him at Reading until 2022. The 18-year old signed his new contract in November and, although he is yet to make his first team debut, he made his first appearance in a senior matchday squad for our FA Cup replay against Cardiff. Andresson, the brother of Axel, is likely to be loaned out next year, assuming Sam Walker stays put, to get some first team experience and further his development.
Like Andresson, Boyce-Clarke has also appeared on the bench for the Royals this season in the FA Cup but is yet to make a first team appearance. The teenager is a very exciting prospect for the club and he is an England youth international as well. He has just turned 17 in March and he is going to be a regular for the under 23's. The Royals were keen to keep him on the books and he has signed a three-year contract. He looks set to have a very bright future.
Luke Southwood is a very highly rated player and is contracted to Reading until the summer of 2021. He has spent this season on loan at Scottish Premier League club Hamilton, where he has been having the best spell of his career so far. Before football was shut down due to Coronavirus he was on a run of three straight clean sheets – which included a 1-0 away victory for his side at Rangers. Things are certainly moving in the right direction now for Southwood and this summer looks to be a huge one for him – whether it is getting a contract extension at Reading or perhaps making a permanent move to get regular first team football.
Onto some of our defenders and Welshman Chris Gunter has been in the spotlight this season after being frozen out of the first team squad by Gomes only to return to some great form in the first team under Mark Bowen. It has been a real up and down time for Gunter but the second half of the season has been all up. However, his contract runs out in the summer and a lot of people believe that he is not going to be retained despite being a terrific player this year. He has been in Berkshire since the 2012. Gunter is still only 30 years old and he is not going to be short of offers either.
The former Birmingham City centre back has been a fantastic addition to the squad after arriving last summer, and he has also formed a fantastic partnership with Liam Moore too. Morrison has another year on his deal and he is a very valuable player. He will find competition for his place thanks to the emergence of Tom McIntyre, but looks set to continue where he left off when football continues.
Matt Miazga is set to return to Chelsea at the end of May, where he has two years left on his contract with his parent club. He hasn't played as much as he wanted this season after suffering with an ankle injury, but was fully back in action before football was suspended, scoring during Reading's 3-1 victory at Birmingham City in our last match. Should football re-start over the summer then Reading will hopefully be able to extend Miazga's contract so he can stay at Reading until next season.
The 27-year old has stepped up to his role and has lead by example for the Royals this season. More doesn't look to be heading anywhere right now after signing a huge five-year contract in 2018. He still has three full years left under contract and it is unlikely right now that any club would be willing to buy up that contract. However, that hasn't stopped rumours flying around and there was talk of an exit in January, with interest from West Brom as they chase promotion to the Premier League. Should Moore go in the summer it will only be due a very large offer.
The left-back experienced a nightmare with a long-term injury and was out for a total of two seasons because of his knee. His future was in doubt before making a spectacular return to the first team. As every game passes, he continues to improve with more game time under his belt. He had already returned to the form he had before his injury and has age on his side as he grows further as a player. Obita is likely to want to return the faith the club put in him should a new contract come his way – which surely it will. His contract expires at the end of June, and it would be a massive disappointment if he leaves on a free. If there is any reasonable contract offer made by the club then Obita should put pen to payer and remain at Reading player next season.
The Scotland international has progressed in leaps and bounds this year and hopefully has a strong future with the club. After breaking into the first team this season he has made nine appearances, including five league matches. He has a year left to run on his current contract but should find that extended in the summer as he is a strong prospect that the club should be holding onto.
As well as Chris Gunter and Jordan Obita who are shortly out of contract there are six other senior players who will be leaving this summer unless new contracts can be negotiated. The list includes Vito Mannone, Tyler Blackett, Garath McCleary, Adrian Popa, and Danny Loader.
Coronavirus: All Games Off
13 March 2020
By Hob Nob Anyone?
All Premier League and English Football League matches have been postponed until at least 3 April due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
The announcement means that the following three Reading FC fixtures are immediately postponed:
- 14 March: Stoke City (Home) - Postponed
- 17 March: Derby County (Away) - Postponed
- 21 March: Brentford (Home) - Postponed
Extra Time Defeat For Impressive Royals
03 March 2020
By Hob Nob Anyone?
Reading came very close to taking this excellent cup tie to penalties in the very last minute of extra time, when Pele's shot from the edge of the box flew agonisingly just outside the post with United's 'keeper Henderson beaten. Had it gone to penalties and Reading had won, nobody could argue that they had not played well enough to progress to the next round. It was night when Reading Football came back to life. The crowd, the atmosphere, and the team's performance were all something of which everyone at the club should feel proud. Against a team three points off a Champions League qualification place (with a game in hand) in the Premier League, Reading more than held their own, and can realistically claim were capable of winning the tie. The visitor's current status and reputation made this match a daunting prospect for the Royals, and falling a goal within two minutes made their task seemingly beyond their reach. At that point nobody could have imagined how the game would unfold. Reading were far from demoralised by this early setback and showing remarkable composure and determination raised their game to a level we have not seen for some time.
FA Cup: Biggest Game Of Season
03 March 2020
By Hob Nob Anyone?
With Reading's league season effectively over - we are highly unlikely to challenge the top six or drop into the bottom three - even manager Mark Bowen thinks tonight's FA Cup game is a big night for his side: "It's probably the biggest game of the season for us, because there is a quarter-final place at stake." Reading have a very tough challenge against Premier League Sheffield United at the Madejski Stadium. The visitors have been flying high in the top tier of English football and currently sit 8th in the League with European qualification to chase. If they were to win their game in hand they would move up to 5th and just two points behind Chelsea in fourth.
Reading fans will hope that the Blades might be concentrating on the League with everything to play for. However, Sheffield United had no game at the weekend and have only played three matches over the last month. That may mean that tonight's match is a good opportunity to give players some game time as they prepare for Saturday's game against Norwich City. Those three games saw United win against Bournemouth and Crystal Palace and pick up a point against Brighton. They are unlikely to field many fringe players and Reading are likely to be facing a team that is capable of matching the best in the Premier League. It could well be a difficult night for the Royals are the Blades are firm favouries to progress to the quarter finals.
As of last season there are no replays in the FA Cup fifth round, which means the game must be settled tonight. That could mean extra time and penalties if the Royals manage to match the Blades over ninety minutes.
Liam Moore was missing at the weekend as the Royals defeated Barnsley 2-0 in a much improved performance to the home defeat against Wigan last week. His illness has cleared up and he will be back in contention in the centre of defence. Reading manager Mark Bowen may choose to stick with the pairing of Miazga and Morrison who looked effective on Saturday. Bowen will also have to decide if he will stuck with George Puscas up front or feature Sam Baldock. Puscas scored a very well taken goal at the weekend and will be expecting to keep his place in the starting eleven. Lucas Joao is back training but is still not match fit.
Sheffield United's team will probably include former Reading player Oliver Norwood who has looked really good in their midfield this season. Manager Chris Wilder does have some options to mix up his team but has suggested he will be putting out a strong side.
Reading have lost all of their last four games against Sheffield United, with our most recent meeting in February last year seeing Sheffield United secure a 4-0 home win. In those four games the Blades have scored 11 goals with the Royals finding the net just twice. However, there is some positive news - our last FA Cup game against them was a 4-0 home victory in 2013 with Noel Hunt getting two and Leigertwood and McCleary on the scoresheet. We'd settle for another win and McCleary getting in on the goals again.
Tickets are still available and can be purchased on-line now. It could be a good evening's football with Reading hopefully giving it a real go - so come on down the Madejski Stadium and support your team.
Recent Meetings With Sheffield United
|16 February 2019||Sheff Utd (Away)||Championship||L: 0-4||Report...||26513||21|
|08 December 2018||Sheff Utd (HOME)||Championship||L: 0-2||Report...||12066||22|
|27 February 2018||Sheff Utd (HOME)||Championship||L: 1-3||Report...||6769||18||O Richards|
|21 October 2017||Sheff Utd (Away)||Championship||L: 1-2||Report...||26265||20||R Beerens|
|26 January 2013||Sheff Utd (HOME)||FA Cup||W: 4-0||Report...||14715||-||N Hunt, M Leigertwood, N Hunt, G McCleary|
|25 April 2011||Sheff Utd (HOME)||Championship||L: 2-3||Report...||-|
|15 February 2011||Sheff Utd (Away)||Championship||D: 1-1||Report...||-|
|26 January 2010||Sheff Utd (Away)||Championship||L: 0-3||Report...||-|