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Five Things: Blackpool v Reading

So two days later and the 1-0 scoreline at Blackpool still looks and feels pretty rubbish and underwhelming... but here's five talking points from our defeat up in the North West.

Matthew Lewis

1. It's too early to panic

It's impossible not be deflated after the last three halves of football from Reading. First, twice surrendering a two-goal lead against Watford before slumping to a late defeat at Blackpool doesn't exactly scream promotion winning form but then this is both the beauty and frustration of the Championship, these results and runs like this just happen.

While there are obvious areas with which to be concerned, a lack of clean sheets, no settled striker and a general lack of a settled starting XI, none of these problems are terminal to our title hopes right now and none of them can't be fixed over the next 42 games.

Five points from 12 isn't title winning form but the performances by and large could well have seen us earn 10 points and that's not being overly generous either. Sure you make your own luck in the game and failing to get 10 as opposed to five points is less than ideal but let's not panic and dismiss our promotion hopes just yet, after all our last title winning outfit had one point less after four games and still went up.

2. Jem Karacan may finally be living up to his early potential

The last two games have seen the Turkish midfielder lead our Man of the Match ratings and with two goals to his name and nearly a third at Blackpool, we might finally be seeing the emergence of Karacan the complete midfielder as opposed to Karacan the terrier.

In his very early days he looked as if he could finally be the replacement for Steve Sidwell that we'd been looking for, but for whatever reason Karacan's development as a more rounded midfielder stalled over the next few years. Whether that was down to the role given to him by Brian McDermott or just a lack of confidence remains to be known but under Nigel Adkins Jem has begun to flourish, showing far more composure in possession and much more attacking intent.

At 24 he's still got plenty of time to get even better and I'll hold my hands up and say he's been proving me wrong after I doubted his ability to become a bit more of an all-round midfielder. Here's hoping it continues that way.

3. Bloomfield Road is fast becoming our bogey ground.

Reading have now lost on their last three trips to Blackpool without scoring a goal and you have to go back a decade to find our last win at the ground, still at least you can console yourself with some decent fish and chips afterwards.

4. Our forward line is a bit of a mess

Considering our front line have three goals between them in four games this one might seem harsh but generally Reading's striking options are far from ideal right now and the next week before the window closes will be absolutely crucial in sorting it all out.

Right now we've got a striker who's not trusted up front on his own away from home in Adam Le Fondre and a young player lacking confidence and experience in Nick Blackman as the main two options. Beyond that we've got a former Russian International who has played for 10 minutes in four games and a soon to be 36-year-old Jason Roberts who's attempting to come back from hip surgery.

Add all of the above together and I'm sorry but you've got a problem. Sure if Pog commits himself to the club and Roberts makes a full recovery than we've got an abundance of riches but right now we just seem to have round pegs for square holes and are having to make do rather than make a statement.

To me it's a carbon copy of the mess we found ourselves in during the first month of the 2011/12 title winning season when Reading couldn't make any plans until Shane Long was sold and while the subsequent signing of  Adam Le Fondre helped stem the bleeding, it was only the arrival of Jason Roberts that really turned us from play-off contenders to automatic promotion candidates.

If this is our group of four for the season then I'd still back us to have a chance of the top two but if I was putting my money where my mouth is, I'd not bet on anything beyond a play-off place.

5. Clean sheets are fast becoming a problem

You have to go back to April 2012 to find our last clean sheet away from home, a 1-0 win at Brighton (and even that had a missed penalty from the home side) While Nigel Adkins team have now conceded in every game so far this season.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that the defence was a work in progress and that's not going to have changed in the last couple of games but how long Nigel Adkins is prepared to put up with the growing pains is a question that will be prominent in his mind right now.

Errors have blighted the defensive unit this year, be it the failure to clear Ipswich's effort that Jay Tabb capitalised on, or terrible marking for the goals at the Reebok Stadium and likewise Watford's opener. Throw in Danny Guthrie giving away a silly penalty and Wayne Bridge and Sean Morrison combining for calamity on Saturday and it makes for some painful viewing.

With Morrison in the side Reading have kept just four clean sheets in 26 games in all competitions and while it's harsh to single out the vice-captain over say Alex Pearceperhaps as Jenna suggested a few weeks ago, he's been thrown in at the deep end with responsibility a little too soon.

However, whether it's Morrison or Pearce to make way you can't help but wonder if a more experienced campaigner like Adrian Mariappa might add a little bit more stability and organisation to the back five. If not Mariappa then perhaps a new signing or even dare I say it, bringing back the very experienced Kaspars Gorkss given his previous good record at this level and alongside Pearce.

Whether it's patience or change that's needed I'm not sure but we certainly don't look the most stable side at the back right now.

So those are five of our main talking points but what do you think needs bringing up after this weekend's result?