Blackburn v Reading: Player Ratings

Ben Hoskins

Once again Rob Langham joins us to give us his player ratings from the 0-0 at Ewood Park, while we invite you to vote for your player of the match.

Alex McCarthy - 8

Half way through the first half, McCarthy dived acrobatically to fingertip a fierce effort from Tom Cairney over the bar and this was a typically assured display from the young goalkeeper. He was also notably impressive under the high ball, regularly coming to pluck the ball confidently. The gap between him and Adam Federici widens.

Chris Gunter - 6

That Gunter has improved his game going forward was again in evidence here and never more so with the burst to the by line that should have resulted in a penalty soon after half time. Benefitting from a long stint in the team, he nevertheless struggled against the pace and skill of Blackburn's left winger Josh King.

Stephen Kelly - 5

Not a disastrous display by any means but the awkwardness one feels as a ball angles over one's head and behind you while necessitating a clearance with one's weaker foot is never easy to get used to and the Irishman is no exception. A really solid right back who is being played out of position, - we might have expected more from Nigel Adkins in the transfer market in the international break given Wayne Bridge's injury.

Alex Pearce - 7

Having taken the punishment of demotion following the Sheffield Wednesday shellacking on the chin, Pearce showed his Head Boy qualities with a really forceful and committed performance, rarely giving Jordan Rhodes a sniff and especially adept in clearing airborne assaults.

Kaspars Gorkss - 5

His left foot supplies the central defence with a balance that the Morrison-Pearce combination lacks but he was once again too often beaten for pace and cumbersome in possession. Gorkss is a Championship winning defender who looks low on confidence at the moment even if his willingness to battle for the cause is unquestioned.

Chris Baird - 5

Tidying up in front of the defence is a crucial role but if the opposition have deployed two attacking midfielders in the zone, it can leave one stretched and so it proved for the Northern Irishman today. Reading are missing the energy of Jem Karacan while Baird's usual ability to play simple passes deserted him, leading to his withdrawal at the break.

Danny Guthrie - 6

At the centre of most things for Reading but too often finding himself outnumbered, his frustration grew as the game progressed and his tendency to go for the Hollywood pass too often brings mixed results. Committed in the tackle though and energetic in his promptings.

Garath McCleary - 5

Perhaps intimidated by the way full back Tommy Spurr got the better of him early on, McCleary seemed reluctant to take on his man while he too often retreated backwards to lay the ball off to his former Forest team mate Gunter. Of course it's tougher away from the occasional wide open spaces of the Madejski but Adkins was right to sub him off rather than Jordan Obita.

Jordan Obita - 6

Looks more assured with every match he plays without setting the world alight just yet. If that chance against QPR had gone in, we may have seen a more confident version here - but he was always willing to take corners and free kicks in wide areas and his delivery was generally exemplary. Still young and doesn't look out of place at all.

Adam Le Fondre - 5

As anonymous as I have seen him, his short stature never looked to be the ticket against the Blackburn back line of Grant Hanley and Scott Dann. Le Fondre has occasionally proved that he can make an impact when he starts a game but this match will give grist to the mill of those who claim he is better as a late substitute.

Pavel Pogrebnyak - 6

A mountain of effort again from the big man but to little avail and he did fluff his lines when within sight of goal even if his hold-up play continues to be outstanding. Perhaps needed a break to make way for Billy Sharp.

Substitutes

Hope Akpan - 7

That late contribution against Chelsea in January apart, this was as good as I've seen Akpan who, despite not being the most comfortable player in possession, does have power and fitness to burn. He wasted a good breakaway opportunity near the end but was generally hard working and effective.

Danny Williams - 6

Williams' entry into the fray after a long absence was welcome although he spent much of the second half chasing shadows. Still, having that extra body in midfield allowed him to harry the Rovers trio and he seemed to suffer no ill effects from the injury.

Nick Blackman - N/A

Introduced too late into the piece for any fair verdict to be given.

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