Following Stephen Kelly’s shaky display at left back against Sheffield Wednesday, few Royals fans would have been filled with confidence with him inevitably stepping in at left-back following the injury to Wayne Bridge. Speaking honestly to the Chronicle, however, Kelly admits the Wednesday game wasn’t good enough and that left-back is not his natural position. However, he thinks a sustained run of games will help him get back into the swing of things and allow him to put in the assured performances he managed after signing last season
Alex Pearce came on as a 65th minute substitute in the Republic of Ireland’s 0-0 draw with Poland - the first time Pearce has appeared for Ireland since his debut in September 2012. Fellow Royal Stephen Kelly played the full 90 minutes and squandered Ireland’s best chance of the game, heading an effort down into the ground and subsequently over Wojciech Szczesny's crossbar from an unmarked position in the 21st minute.
After a series of remarkable performances for the Royals and Republic of Ireland youth sides, 17 year old Liam Kelly has put pen to paper on his first Pro deal. Born in Reading, the teenager can’t hide his delight at signing for us, adding that the first team opportunities given to Jordan Obita, Aaron Tshibola and Jake Taylor have convinced him this is where he needs to be, and he hopes to follow in their footsteps. Academy director Eamonn Dolan says the professional contract is everything the playmaker deserves given his hard work this season.
Sat behind Alex McCarthy and Adam Federici in the goalkeeper pecking order, third choice veteran Stuart Taylor has opted for a loan move to fellow Championship side Yeovil on a one month deal. Director of Football, Nick Hammond, has described the move as a "a good opportunity for Stuart to play go and play some games".
‘You don’t need a loan, you just need to work harder’ is all Adkins has to say on Hope Akpan’s recent comments suggesting he needs a loan move away from Reading to bolster his first team chances. He says hard work on the training ground is enough for any player to assert their place in the side, suggesting Akpan just needs to work hard and quietly bide his time.
December and January see us play 12 league fixtures, the same amount of games we played throughout September, October and November, so boss Nigel Adkins is challenging his team to "make sure we’re still in the race" come March and April, when he says the strongest squads in the league will shine through.
Rob Green did nothing but heap praise on our up and coming English goalkeeper following his performance against QPR. McCarthy made a series of fine saves to ensure we earned a point against the Championship high flyers. Green says if McCarthy carries on playing and keeps his feet on the ground, he will be a top prospect. Even so, having not featured for England since his solitary call-up, and with just one friendly left for England before the World Cup, it seems unlikely McCarthy will be part of Roy Hodgson’s final squad.
With 9 matches in under 5 weeks, full-back Chris Gunter is keen to point out that the coming month will be both a test and a chance for us to start picking up points again after a lapse in form.
Although Sean Morrison’s contract does not expire until 2016, interest from Premier league clubs has forced backroom staff to look into tying our defensive stopper down for a longer period of time. Morrison emphasises that he is happy at Reading and the four month talks on a new contract are drawing to a close.