Weekly Review, May 4-11, 2011
Another busy week for Reading FC, with the dreaded yet exciting play-offs fast approaching.
Last week we had our final league game of the season against Derby while there were also some contract moves and a few awards for the players and staff.
After the jump we'll have details of all the latest news from the Madejski Stadium.
During the week it was confirmed that one of Shane Long, Jem Karacan and Jimmy Kebe would be named the fan's player of the season and all fully deserve their nominations for the parts they have played this season. Long had a purple patch in which he scored goals for fun and despite not scoring recently and having a slow start to the season, he works tirelessly regardless.
Karacan has become an ever-present this season after slowly edging his way into the side over the last two seasons, he like Long, can run all day long and has fantastic stamina in the mould of former Royal James Harper.
Kebe, despite having a couple of injury niggles throughout the season, has again been fantastic and on his day will rip any Championship defence to shreds.
Long won the accolade, followed by Kebe in second and Karacan in third.
Our manager Brian McDermott also received praise after winning the manager of the month award for April after he guided us to five straight wins, two draws and only one defeat. The winning form helped Reading rise into the promotion hunt, beating Portsmouth (home), Preston (home), Nottingham Forest (away), Scunthorpe (away) and Leicester (home) along the way. The draws came away at Elland Road (Leeds) and away to Coventry and the lone defeat was against Sheffield United at home.
On Saturday we had our final match of the season against Derby and we had a mixed line-up out as the gaffer chose to rest some players ahead of the play-offs. Adam Federici remained in-goal having only made his comeback the week before, Shaun Cummings was given his first game since being injured away at Crystal Palace as Andy Griffin was rested. Alex Pearce also made an injury comeback in place of the rested Zurab Khizanishvilli, Michail Antonio kept his place on the right-wing as Kebe again was not risked and Hal Robson-Kanu played in place of Jobi McAnuff who was also rested. Jay Tabb came in for Karacan and Long and Noel Hunt were also dropped to the bench as Simon Church and Mathieu Manset were given starts.
The game was also a very big day for Derby midfielder Robbie Savage as it was his last before retiring, and the Welshman assisted in Reading winning a penalty to take the lead. He was dispossessed in his own half and Church was then taken down by Russell Anderson, Ian Harte stepped up and scored his 11th of the campaign. Derby managed to strike back through Stephan Ward who hit a shot from 25 yards, the movement deceived Federici and knocked his towel down from the net. Antonio was brought down right on half time which gave Ian Harte the opportunity to hit his twelfth goal of the season but the reliable set piece specialist hit the post.
The Royals won the game 2-1 thanks to Robson-Kanu who finished past the young Derby keeper after he flapped at a cross. This now means that the boys will go into the Cardiff game with new-found momentum after a patchy run of results despite only losing once.
After the game the team did their lap of appreciation for the fans and Robbie Savage decided to get almost naked, horrendous I know!!!!
Following the conclusion of the weekend fixtures and the announcement that QPR will not receive a points deduction, congratulations are in order to them and Norwich for their promotions to the Premier League. Despite the ongoing football league farce of letting the scenario over Faurlin and QPR drag on this long, QPR were deservedly crowned champions and I wish them luck next season.
Norwich finished as runners-up in their first season following promotion from League One which was a fantastic achievement from the Canaries and I hope they do well next season.
More importantly we now face Cardiff over two legs in the play-offs and thankfully the Welsh side are off form. Despite their recent wobbles, they have a squad full of talent and they must not be underestimated.
On Monday it was announced that we would be releasing young right back Julian Kelly and midfielder Scott Davies. McDermott had issued Davies surplus to requirements at the start of the season and only included him as an unused sub during difficult spells with injuries. Kelly did seem in favour but like last season has suffered from persistent injuries and has also been let go. Both players have been very unlucky over the past couple of seasons and will undoubtedly find new clubs with ease and we wish them luck for the future. We have a full article discussing the contract situation of those players and more which can be read here.
Loan watch- Dave Mooney was not involved in Colchester United's final squad of the season and has now returned to Reading. Marcus Williams has also returned to the club after he played the full 90 at left back in Scunthorpe's 1-1 draw with Portsmouth. Jack Mills and Jacob Walcott will be returning to England once their domestic season in Holland with Telstar is over, James Rowe has also returned after his spell with Lewes came to its conclusion as did Harry Harding's at Bromley. Michael Hector will remain with Dundalk in Ireland untill the end of June, as will Danny Joyce with Bohemians.
So, lets get behind the boys on Friday and give the lads a lift as we aim to beat the Bluebird's and book ourselves a place at Wembley!!!!!