Blackburn v Reading: 5 Things

Ben Hoskins

To complete our analysis from Ewood Park, Rob Langham looks at five key talking points to come out of Saturday's 0-0 stalemate.

4-4-2 is a shabby, outmoded excuse for a playing system

Well ‘learned' isn't strictly true because we've know this for a while - Spain don't play it, Bayern Munich don't play it, we have learned the hard way that nobody plays it in the Premier League, Millwall, as we discovered a month ago, don't play it - hell, Woodley Hammers under 9s probably don't even play it. So why persist? To give Nigel Adkins his due, he did change matters hurriedly at half time when he brought on Danny Williams and Hope Akpan to combat Blackburn's dominant central midfield threesome of David Dunn, Jason Lowe and Tom Cairney. Just don't make the same mistake again Nigel.

Alex Pearce has character

Again, we probably knew this - but having been ignominiously dropped from the team after the Sheffield Wednesday meltdown the clean cut face of Reading's defence had an impeccable afternoon here, taking advantage of Sean Morrison's misfortune to produce an energetic and committed display. The club might have to think twice rather than persist with him if a Premier league fixture list ever lands on our doormats again, but he'll suffice in the main for the Championship. While I'm here, I'll state that there was enough uncertainty about Kaspars Gorkss' performance to swiftly reinstate the Pearce-Morrison axis when the latter is fit.

We need a revolution in the stands

Anyone who made the trek to Blackburn's dark satanic mills deserves credit - and £25 for pretty mediocre Championship fare is absurd when you think about it - but some level of loudness and enthusiasm from the support would be nice. True, the Blackburn faithful, neutered by the abuses of Venkys, were as quiet and cynical as any home following I've come across lately and the players are providing us with little to shout about on the pitch but why pay the best part of a hundred quid to go through the motions? A week ago, I was at Preston's 1-0 win at Leyton Orient a division down and the atmosphere in the away end crackled - how can we recapture that St. Mary's 2012 spirit?

Alex McCarthy still has a slight chance of making Brazil

Ok - he'll probably have to turn in another 10 of displays like this one and some of them on the box - nor do we want him heading elsewhere in January - but McCarthy was exceptional today, coming up with a wonder save to deny Tom Cairney and showing such assurance under the high ball as to make us 100 per cent confident in such situations. Nor do I think this distribution is as poor as is alleged - if he doesn't want to kick long then that's a good thing in my book.

Chris Baird and Billy Sharp are unlikely to turn out to be long term signings

Billy Sharp's procrastination as to whether to come to Reading or not can probably mainly be put down to a wish to fight for a place at Premier League Southampton but the hesitancy to bring him on as the Blackburn game slid inexorably into goalless status does stir up a honeypot of speculation. Yes, the most sensible thing to do would have been to introduce him as a straight swap for Pavel Pogrebnyak but sleigh bells are almost ringing now and perhaps Adkins feels that using a man who might not be at the club in January is a futile exercise. The case is similar with Baird. With Danny Williams successfully negotiating his return to the team and Hope Akpan producing his brightest showing for some time, the Fulham's player's meaningful contribution is waning.

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