Reading: The Best Equipped To Survive?

They've certainly done the most strengthening of the promoted clubs and Philip Cornwall believes they've done enough to stay out of trouble. Does mid-table beckon?

Last Updated: 13/08/12 at 14:37 Post Comment

Latest Articles

The PL's Most Improved Defences

1 comments

Southampton top the list but perhaps it's Aston Villa who should get most credit. Their defence is the reason why they are sitting comfortably in mid-table...

Football Managers On TV: Sam Allardyce

11 comments

Garrulous, uncompromising, always fighting his corner, but not without charm if the mood takes him. Sam Allardyce is the Premier League's classic Proper Football Man...

All Articles

Last season:

Championship Winners; FA Cup Third round; Carling Cup First round

Manager Brian McDermott (since December 2009) Odds on being first out of his job 16-1 (joint seventh)

Transfers in Garath McCleary (Nottingham Forest), Danny Guthrie (Newcastle), Pavel Pogrebnyak (Stuttgart), Nicky Shorey (West Brom), Adrian Mariappa (Watford), Chris Gunter (Forest)

Transfers out Michail Antonio (Sheffield Wednesday), Mathieu Manset (Sion), Karl Sheppard (Accrington)

Reading's two-season stay in the Premier League under Steve Coppell - from 2006 to 2008 - was one of the oddest of recent years. Some fans say that in the relegation season the players believed the hype after almost qualifying for Europe the previous campaign when new to the top flight; equally you could argue that a desire not to get carried away caused the players to doubt themselves in the second season in situations where they had prospered a year earlier.

Brian McDermott's rise, culminating in promotion in his second full season, has also been a tale of the unexpected. The date at Anfield on 20 October will throw up a number of easy reminiscences. First, McDermott's first victory as Reading manager, while still caretaker, was in an FA Cup replay at Anfield in January 2010. Second, the man he had just succeeded was Brendan Rodgers. Third, the following season, Rodgers' Swansea City beat Reading in the play-off final.

McDermott, like Rodgers, worked his way up inside the game. His previous management positions were at non-League level in the 1990s and he has had a series of jobs at Reading, starting as chief scout in 2000. He will have seen and absorbed what happened under Coppell and will know, too, the potential of a club that suffers from being in easy reach of London but otherwise has a well-off hinterland with ostensible local rivals such as Swindon and Oxford left far behind. There are limits to progress in an era when so much of big clubs' income is derived from fans who rarely if ever visit the ground, but the home sections of the stadium should be reliably packed.

The ground is of course named after John Madejski, an unimaginably good advert for football club chairmen, who after saving and transforming Reading has sold a controlling interest to a Russian, Anton Zingarevich. How much the billionaire's son will spend is unclear but of the three promoted sides' squads, Reading's has been improved the most so far.

The moves include Bosman transfers for Pavel Pogrebnyak, Danny Guthrie, Garath McLeary and the returning Nicky Shorey. They have spent £2.5m each for Adrian Mariappa and Chris Gunter, to strengthen an already-solid defence that managed 20 clean sheets last season.

You could be forgiven for thinking Ian Harte had retired - he was clubless briefly a few years back - but his set-pieces remain a threat. McDermott has width at his disposal, too, from Jimmy Kebe and Jobi McAbuff.

McDermott will get to test his team at home to Stoke and away to Sunderland this month before matches at Chelsea and then against Spurs at the Madejski. Reading know, though, how deceptive starts to seasons can be: they began their relegation season with a goalless draw at Old Trafford and last year had only four points from their first six games.

Forced to take a guess I think Reading have what it takes, if not to prosper, then at least to avoid the worst of the trouble. Pogrebnyak was on loan at Fulham last season and he may well have landed at a similarly postioned club.

Philip Cornwall

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

really enjoyed this. Thanks F365 for another year of work avoidance - happy Christmas.

megabrow (cufc)
Our Person Of The Year: Alan Pardew

I

m no Sam Fan and this article sums him up beautifully. I always like to imagine that when he watches anything on TV and hears clapping, he stands up and aknowledges the applause, thinking its for him!

cozens
Football Managers On TV: Sam Allardyce

N

ah, Fergie is just having another pop at Rooney. He just wants to put him down whenever he gets a chance. Rooney is by far the best English player. Carrick is not far behind, mind. However, by elevating Carrick like that, Sir is having a dig at Wayne. Fergie is well-known for mind games like that. Good to see he's still feisty.

timbo
Van Gaal will thrive - Ferguson

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Arsene Wenger admits Olivier Giroud deserved his red card for headbutting Nedum Onuoha

Arsene Wenger admits Olivier Giroud deserved his red card for headbutting Nedum Onuoha in Arsenal's 2-1 win over QPR.

Premier League: Alexis Sanchez and Tomas Rosicky give 10-man Arsenal 2-1 win over QPR

Alexis Sanchez and Tomas Rosicky gave Arsenal a 2-1 win over QPR despite Olivier Giroud's second-half sending off.

Premier League: Manchester City respond to Chelsea's victory by winning at West Brom

Manchester City won 3-1 at West Brom to reduce the gap on Chelsea at the top of the Premier League back to three points.

Mail Box

Van Gaal's Half-Term Report Card...

One Man United fan isn't happy with the rate the team is progressing under Louis van Gaal, while the mailbox also wishes Liverpool fans a Merry Mid-Table Christmas...

Hang On, Rafa's Success Is No Fluke...

The afternoon mailbox kicks the morning mailbox's arse after claims that Rafa Benitez has fluked his success. Plus, big talk about Liverpool's progress and lots more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property