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Five Things: Peterborough v Reading

Ok so it was a shambles from just about every angle but beyond the outright disgust and embarrassment what can we take away from last night's mauling?

Charlie Crowhurst

1. Peterborough are actually a  bloody good side

It's easy to sit here and slag off Reading for being awful (which they were) but at the same time give some credit to the hosts who played some brilliant football at times and scored some terrific goals. This is a Peterborough team who have now won all six games this season, scoring 23 goals in the process, hardly mugs. Add to that the fact they were relegated last season despite earning 54 points, the most ever by a relegated side, and gave us a good fright at the Madejski Stadium in the competition last year and it's not as if we were playing some down in the dumps useless third tier side.

Peterborough's style is set up to destroy teams careless with possession and with Reading's second string in particular very new to Adkins style of play, they were picked off without mercy.

Again that doesn't excuse our capitulation but it does provide some sort of explanation as to why we were destroyed so convincingly.

2.  The 'squad' perhaps isn't as strong as we'd have hoped

I've been among those calling for players like Adrian Mariappa, Danny Williams and Pavel Pogrebnyak to get more game time but last night perhaps vindicated Nigel Adkins selection policies so far this season. None of those three, nor anyone else who featured, showed why they should displace any of the league regulars who while they may have blown hot and cold, have at least blown hot at times.

While it's unfair to suggest that each of the 9 new faces would struggle if plugged into a league lineup, they certainly suggested that there's question marks hovering over them for different reasons.

On paper we've got plenty of cover but the first real test of that cover would have certainly been given an F- based on last night's display.

3. Some players need to be shipped out.

While it's nice having 'proven talent' on the bench, we have to face up to the fact that certain individuals just won't be at their best when playing sporadically for either fitness or mental reasons.  For every Jay Tabb or Chris Makin out there, you've got a Danny Guthrie type, someone that just isn't happy being on the bench or a player that needs regular games to be sharp.

For that reason some of our backups might need to be shifted on, to either make way for younger hungrier players or just to improve squad harmony. I'm not saying that individuals like Jimmy Kebe, Pavel Pogrebnyak or Adam Federici are anything but professional but  are they really going to be giving off positive vibes following their falls from grace in recent months? Decisions need to be made as to whether they're true first teamers or just here as backups and fast.

Perhaps we should be looking for a core of 18 plus some better youth prospects rather than the bloated 25+ headed monster we seem to be carrying right now. We need to bring in players with a point to prove at Reading rather than carrying players that did their hard work three or four years ago.

4. It could be a blessing in disguise.

One of the good things to come out of last night could be that it serves as a harsh wake up call for the management at the football club. If the chairman and owner were sitting on the fence about whether we needed new additions to the squad then this result coupled with the Blackpool defeat sends a very clear message.

Likewise, it might just cajole some players who might have considered the Championship 'easy' into bucking up their ideas.

5. It lowers expectations.

Again, another benefit to come from this might be that fans and the squad get a reality check. The message coming from the club this summer was 'we're aiming for the title' and while that's great to sell season tickets, fans need to realise that this won't be a cakewalk  and these blips are going to happen.

As we've said before, plenty of other promoted sides dealt with similar crushing performances, not least Reading who suffered a miserable start to the campaign in 2011/12 before storming to the title.

Perhaps with less pressure and expectation the team can be allowed to build naturally, rather than forcing knee jerk signings and tactical decisions designed to get short term results. We've seen another forward thinking manager hounded out after just 6 months in the job and fingers crossed this one gets a slightly longer leash to build a team for the long term rather than the short term. Swansea didn't become a Cup winning side overnight, nor did Southampton. It'll take time folks.