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Jay Tabb, Reading's unsung hero?

Jay Tabb has signed a new contract with Reading, which will keep him at the Madejski Stadium until at least 2012, with the option of adding a further year.


Below I'll be looking back at Tabb's time here and look at what his future role at the club may be

Signed by 'Sir' Steve Coppell in January 2009, he was the man who the Royals poured their hope into when the going got tough in the second half of the 2008/2009 season, the season that turned out to be Coppell's final season with us.

Jay Tabb Started  his career at Brentford before moving on to Coventry and made more than 200 career league appearances before moving for around £500,000 to Reading, he also scored 32 times before his move - but since then the goals have dried up.

Tabb fought his way into starting XI's for Coppell, Brendan Rodgers and current boss Brian McDermott, but has never been able to hold down a regular spot. He's had brief spells as a first choice midfielder and then either been injured or found himself left out of the side for other options. He's played on the wing, at left-back, right-back, attacking midfielder, defensive midfielder, but he just hasn't scored. I seem to remember when he first signed on for Reading he announced that he enjoyed going for goal and took a good free kick... but we've yet to see him do either.

It's a shame, because goals are the only thing that's lacking from his game at Championship level  (apart from maybe his height!). I'm not sure what has happened since he signed for us, have Coppell, Rodgers and McDermott asked him to focus more on assisting that going for goal? You could also blame the positions he's been played in, but even when he plays behind the striker he just hasn't looked like being a goal threat.

Yet everything else that that short Irishman does is sublime. His passing, his work rate, his tackling, his dribbling, he may not be rated that highly on FIFA (just 62!?!) but he is easily one of our best midfielders, if not the best.

That might seem like a big statement, but when he's not in the team the majority of fans are calling for him to be put into the side and when he is in the side he is never faulted, even when playing out of position (right-back last season, anyone?) His work-rate and effort make him a fans favourite - but work-rate alone doesn't get you praise. Tabb has got qualities that fans appreciate, and Reading Director of Football Nick Hammond believes he's got just as many qualities off the field:

Jay is a true professional and has been a real team player ever since he arrived at Reading Football Club. His versatility has been very important to us this season and, as a person, he is a great guy to have around. We're delighted he has signed a new deal.

Right now Tabb has been getting regular starts but can he keep his place? We'll just have to see, but I certainly see no reason for McDermott to drop him right now.

Yes, Jem Karacan is also a fantasticly hard-working midfielder and very sensible on the ball; but I feel that the former Coventry man offers more of an attacking threat then the Turkish Under 21 international.  If Tabb can use the new cash from this contract to buy a new pair of shooting boots (<---- credit should to go @maffff on Twitter for that one), then I can see him being a key player in not only in this season's promotion push, but also the next few seasons if injuries don't get in the way.