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Reading FC Ups & Downs 2013/14: 1st Quarter

Last season we took a regular look at who's reputation and performances were on the up and who was slumping at the Madejski Stadium and we continue that today with a look at who's gone up and down since the start of the campaign.

Charlie Crowhurst

Here's how we've seen it,  the only criteria is that they've played a game this season (except for Stuart Taylor who'll we'll let on the list just for being around the squad regularly)

PLAYER TREND NOTES
GOALKEEPERS
ALEX McCARTHY UP An unquestionable up arrow for McCarthy who has only enchanced his reputation with a string of fine displays that have helped give Reading one of the best defensive records in the division. The 'keeper can consider himself very unlucky not to have been involved with England but if he keeps up this level of performance there's no doubt he'll be a Premier League and International goalkeeper sooner rather than later.
ADAM FEDERICI DOWN From Championship winner to bench-warmer, it's been a tough year for the Australian goalkeeper. Federici has been limited to bench duty in the league and his one taste of first team action came during the 6-0 drubbing at Peterborough. I'm sure he'd be fine if called upon but how long will Federici be happy to warm a bench?
STUART TAYLOR LEVEL Not seen him this season and with the greatest of respects we didn't expect to either. Very capable deputy and sure he's a good influence on the younger keepers.
DEFENDERS
CHRIS GUNTER LEVEL It's been an up and down season so far for Gunter, who's mixed decent performances with those slightly below par. Overall though the Wales defender has held his own and has looked a decent right-back.
SHAUN CUMMINGS DOWN The future doesn't look overly promising for the former Chelsea defender who's managed just a single league start, when pressed into emergency left-back duty at Yeovil plus another few minutes off the bench at Derby. He was also a part of the defence ripped to shreds by Peterborough but it woud be unfair to judge him on that. Still, he seems to be well behind Gunter and Kelly in the pecking order,
WAYNE BRIDGE UP Bridge has been as solid as they come this season, with a string of decent performances in the left-back position. Although he was at fault for the goal at Blackpool he's shown himself to be a good signing and if he can stay fit he'll be vital if we're to mount a serious promotion bid.
STEPHEN KELLY LEVEL Has been reliable when called on but has still shown he's limited as a left-back.
ALEX PEARCE UP I think I'll give Pearce an up just because of the fact that few saw him starting the season as part of our first choice centre-back pairing. The defender has started every game this year alongside Sean Morrison and has looked steady if not spectacular.
SEAN MORRISON UP Again an up arrow because of the fact he's been an ever present and looked a decent captain to boot. How Morrison hasn't scored is a mystery (especially to The Tilehurst End Podcast's Alan West....) but like Pearce he's been solid if not spectacular.
KASPARS GORKSS DOWN Not much action for Gorkss, who like Federici has had a bit of a comedown from his near POTY form of 2011/12. His one game, the 6-0 drubbing at Peterborough.
MIDFIELDERS

CHRIS BAIRD UP Baird has looked a good little signing so far, putting in a series of good performances alongside Guthrie in the midfield. With the Northern Ireland international also able to play across the defence, it's just the sort of experienced and low risk signing we needed to shore up the midfield.
JORDAN OBITA UP Obita has made the most of his chances in the first team this season, with the 19 year old particularly impressive on his first league start for the club at Derby. Showing himself to be capable on the wing or through the middle, the future looks bright for Obita.
ROYSTON DRENTHE LEVEL A fantastic start for Royston has slowly fizzled out as his form dropped before he was forced to miss the last few games with a foot injury. Has shown glimpses of why he was bought by Real Madrid for an eight figure sum but also why he's moved around plenty since. Still, when fit he'll be a great asset for the club.... at least I hope so.
GARATH McCLEARY UP McClearly has probably been our most consistent outfield performer since Adkins arrived in March and his performances this season have been superb. The former Forest winger has looked a constant threat down the right and is probably our best winger right now.
HAL ROBSON-KANU DOWN For whatever reason it just hasn't clicked so far this season for Robson-Kanu. After he ended last year in such fine form it's been a disappointing start in the Championship, though I'm sure the niggling injury he carried into the season hasn't helped.
JOBI McANUFF DOWN Another who's seen his season disrupted by injury is club captain Jobi McAnuff. After playing in every game last year Jobi has made just three league starts this season.
DANNY GUTHRIE UP Our player of the month for August has followed that up with a fine September that saw the midfielder nominated for the Championship's player of the month as well. Absolutely crucial to the way we play, it's been a terrific turnaround from a player slammed by most last year.
DANNY WILLIAMS LEVEL A series of fine cameos at the start of the season saw Williams made a great first impression but he's not quite followed up on that potential since Karacan's injury. Again his own injury problems haven't helped but you feel there's more to come from Williams.
JEM KARACAN INJURED Poor Jem, this would have been an unquestioned up arrow were it not for the painful, season-ending injury he picked up against Leeds. Fingers crossed he makes a full and swift recovery.
HOPE AKPAN DOWN Hope's come back down to Earth after those first few Premier League games that saw him create three goals in two games. Since then he's struggled to hold down a place in the team and hasn't quite looked Championship standard. Maybe needs a loan move once our injuries clear up.
JAKE TAYLOR UP Personally I'd written off Taylor, who'd looked to be sliding into James Henry, Jullian Kelly, Scott Davies territory but credit to the Welsh midfielder, who's battled his way into first team contention and got on the pitch at Burnley as a second half substitute.
FORWARDS
ADAM LE FONDRE LEVEL Once again fantastic off the bench but looking lacking as a starter. Alfie has scored four league goals this season including a stunner against Watfor and vital winners against Yeovil and Leeds but still doesn't look overly threatening over 90 minutes.
PAVEL POGREBNYAK LEVEL A woeful start to the campaign has been followed up by a promising run of performances over the past few games that's seen the Pog net his first goals of the season at Derby. If he can play this way over the whole season he could be a real asset, the trick is keeping him interested.
NICK BLACKMAN DOWN I'm not going to join in the hate Blackman brigade but it's impossible to argue that the former Blades forward has had a good start to the season. Two goals from eight games isn't terrible but given he's had five starts and scored just one penalty in that time, it's not terrific form either. Has potential and deserves patience but right now he's not quite up to it if we want to be a top two side.
BILLY SHARP LEVEL Finally made his long-mooted loan move to the Madejski but has so far managed just a handful of minutes at Barnsley. Injury then kept him out of the Burnley game so fingers crossed he's match fit for the weekend.