Five Things: Reading v Blackburn

Charlie Crowhurst

So with the dust settling on a drab day at the office for Reading, here's five things that took my notice in and around Saturday's game against Blackburn.

1) There's a distinct lack of a plan B....

No I'm not calling for more of his music on the PA system, more lamenting the fact that from the earliest days under Nigel Adkins, Reading really haven't had an effective backup plan when games turn against them.

We'll have more on our inability to overcome a deficit later this week but the fact remains that only once have we come from behind to win under Adkins and all too often we've resorted to banging it long up front as soon as our initial gameplan comes unstuck.

Credit to Nigel Adkins for making a triple substitution but it still seemed a desperate and slightly scatter gun approach rather than a considered methodical game plan designed to swing the game back in our favour.

2) Are Reading overly reliant on Garath McCleary?

Reading's two best spells this season have coincided with the form of two midfield players, Garath McCleary and Danny Guthrie. For Guthrie his season began to unravel in October after clubs realised that all of our best plays started with him, and decided to mark him out the game. On Saturday, Blackburn nullified McCleary and again we struggled to create.

So I have to ask whether this team has enough creativity in it throughout the team to break down teams that are well organised and have done their home work, or will we still be reliant on one or two players to provide our creative threat.

3) Royston Drenthe still has a spark

As in my player ratings I expect this one to cause some debate but for me, Royston Drenthe showed enough flashes of skill during his time on the pitch to suggest he can still play an important role in this run in. If (and it's a big if) his heart is back in it and he realises his only way to get out of the club is to play his way out, we could have a fantastic weapon to give us an edge during the run in.

4) Safe Standing can't come soon enough

With a season ticket in Y25 I'm no stranger to seeing fans stand, nor seeing stewards fight the battle to get those fans to sit down. Some weeks the stewards try harder than others but this week saw a couple of incidents that distracted from the play and created a bit of a nasty atmosphere between fans and the 'tangos', with chants of 'we pay your wages, we'll do what we want' sadly one of the friendlier chants of the day.

It's easy to feel sorry for both sides as the stewards are just doing their job while home fans simply want to be treated fairly and allowed to stand in areas where it's generally accepted that there will be significant standing, not to mention feeling victimised when away fans are regularly allowed to stand just a few metres away.

With such problems I can only hope that we see safe standing sooner rather than later because the rows between the two sides help nobody and isn't doing much for the atmosphere either

5) What to do with Danny Guthrie?

Since his return from injury it's been easy to leave the midfielder on the sidelines due to a combination of the team's form and needing to 'ease' Guthrie back to fitness. With two defeats in three games and Guthrie getting 40 minutes on Saturday, those arguments won't cut it anymore so what will Adkins do with the man who played such a pivotalrole in much of Adkins early days?

Neither Hope Akpan nor Danny Williams have been particularly bad and Guthrie can't do the job that either man does in the side so do we change our style, or change tactics to accommodate the former Liverpool midfielder?

Personally I'd say neither and persist with Akpan and Williams for the next few games but anything less than 3 points against Yeovil and changes could be on the horizon.

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