clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Tilehurst End October Round Table - Part 2: Captaincy, Expectations & Finishes

Yesterday we brought you the first part of our recent Tilehurst End round table. Today we bring you the second and final part as we talk the captaincy, expectation levels and where we think Reading FC will end up this season.

Charlie Crowhurst

Is Jem Karacan the right choice for club captain?

Bucks Royal

Going forward, yes, but I can't help but feel that the captaincy could have gone to someone without the obvious injury problems.

ThatMarcMayo

I can't complain. Correct? We'll have to see (he hasn't played yet). The other options were Pearce, who we've just said isn't playing the experienced head he needs to be. Guthrie? Not for me- many fans won't forget Sunderland, and it shows he's liable to lose interest (if he ever had it). Morrison? Well, no lol. So yeah Jem seems the best of our current bunch.

Hoops

Can't help but feel that with Karacan now having so much competition for a spot in that midfield that it could have gone to someone else guaranteed a spot. Probably just me and my romanticism wanting a captain playing week in week out.

ThatMarcMayo

Important to remember, majority of older heads in the dressing room haven't been here long and the ones with more 'club experience' are players like Jem- so a fair enough decision and one I'm happy to back for the foreseeable future

Wimb

It's a good statement of intent! Though I'd like to see him sign a new contract sooner rather than later. He's a player that leads by example and if he picks up where he left off when he got injured he'll be a fine captain. Got to say I've not exactly been thrilled with Gunter's leadership but few others are putting their hand up to take the armband in Jem's absence.

Jonny

Yes, correct call that Karacan is captain. My issue is more that Alex Pearce isn't standing in at the moment - leader, commander, and has experience with the armband before his contract issues. But there is a real lack of leadership and commanding players throughout the side - we look weak.

Wimb

Jonny do you maybe think his whole contract shenanigans from a couple of years back have permanently damaged his credibility with the others in that dressing room?

Jonny

Possibly, though I don't really know how many are still around from that era! But time has passed and he is certainly the most vocal player on the pitch, the armband means little aside from photographs with sponsors (that's new this season, by the way)

Bucks Royal

Federici is perhaps someone who could have been given the captaincy, considering he'll be playing week in week out and has been around the side for donkey's years.

Hoops

Federici could have been in for it, but the decision was made before McCarthy was sold, right? Can't make second choice keeper captain!

Bucks Royal

Yeh that's true Hoops. And it did seem that Karacan burst into Nigel's office and put himself forward for the captaincy with quite a bit of gusto, so that's probably what won it for him.

Bucks Royal

At least that's what I think Adkins said afterwards. 

Hoops

WRONG CHOICE HE BLOCKS CLUB FANS ON TWITTER ;)

Wimb

Ha! Jem's made a few PR mistakes in the past but in terms of what other young players have done around the country he's been OK and seems to have grown up a bit.

ThatMarcMayo

Give it to the man who wants it most, Adkins policy on penalty takers afterall!

ThatMarcMayo

That's always worked, right?

Which player that left the club in the Summer will we most regret, come the end of the season?


Wimb

Right now? Mikele Leigertwood. We really could have done with another enforcer at the club to help out Hope Akpan. I think Wayne Bridge (if fit) could have done an excellent job at left-back but it was his choice to retire and that suggests he had no faith in his own ability to stay fit!

Hoops

Wayne Bridge. That left back spot is soft, and despite Bridge's injury problems when he did play he was head and shoulders our best defender.

Bucks Royal

A fit Wayne Bridge could make a big difference to this side - experience at the back is what we've missed so far.

WilliamOwain

Jobi McAnuff maybe would have been useful for another year. We aren't blessed with options on the left wing, he offered cover in central midfield and was a respected captain.

ThatMarcMayo

For me, Jobi. Having a hard-working winger, experienced head, a leader and a been-there-done-it player would be so valuable in this squad. 

Bucks Royal

Considering our defensive mishaps that have cost us a few points this season, I think Morrison could be missed. Although McCarthy was a quality goalkeeper, Federici is a more than adequate replacement, and Le Fondre's wasn't a reliable goalscorer throughout an entire season. 

Wimb

Good point on the captaincy Will, links back to what we just said and he would have helped some of the younger lads out as well. 

ThatMarcMayo

Whether Adkins would've kept him with some extra funds- at the time- or not, we'll never know. But, an extra year would certainly have been welcome, something I thought at the time and with hindsight

WilliamOwain

If Anton Ferdinand never gets fit then maybe Morrison but I think he was too similar to Pearce.

ThatMarcMayo

Given the rise of Hector, I'm not too fussed about Morro. Good price.

Jonny

I think you can make a case for all of the players that left "doing a job", going forward though, Leigertwood wouldn't have been much use, whilst McAnuff might noy have got much time this season. It would have to be Morrison but he certainly wasn't much better than Pearce/Hector/Cooper/Ferdinand. Cracking business.

Hoops

As you all know I wasn't a McAnuff fan......

Is this season a rebuilding season or a serious attempt at promotion?


Hoops

Rebuilding, without doubt. In fact, I can see the rebuild lasting two or three seasons. Adkins has a big job on his hand changing playing style over and blooding youngsters.

ThatMarcMayo

We should never, ever, brand our season as 'promotion attempt' because that's never worked for us as a club.

Wimb

Depends how much money Nige is given in January and how quickly the injured players come back... I think if you have Williams, Karacan and McCleary at 100% from Christmas you should be expecting a play-off campaign. 

WilliamOwain

Definitely a rebuilding season. It's a chance to bed in some youngsters and make important decisions on players who have contracts running out at the end of the season. Saying that we need to be within touching distance of the play offs and finish in the top half.

Jonny
I think we have parts for promotion but we are by no means the complete side, even when all the injuries subside. We need a left-back, Hector/Pearce need another year (if they are our pairing going forward) and we need a few long-term prospects in the final third, though a left-back allows us to move Obita forward. The introduction of youth allows Adkins to present the season as such. How good would a team with Obita, Kuhl, Cooper, Hector be in a couple of years?

ThatMarcMayo

We all know, and share, the dream. Every season in one way or another is a promotion attempt, but we're at a serious detriment when we saddle our players and manager with the burden of a 'promotion attempt' season

Wimb

I take on board the point that we're building something... but don't you think we've got the quality in this squad to be a top six side? Especially when there's not many standout teams in this division this season?

Jonny

We do have the qualities in certain areas, but we have a lot of deficiencies too. I'm not sure that our attack outweighs our defence at the moment.

Bucks Royal

We seem to do best when the pressure's off - we never seriously expected Brian McDermott to lead us to a Championship title did we? And although it looks like a rebuilding season, there isn't a great deal of pressure on the side at the moment. If we stay in the race until the new year, I think a Play-Off campaign is certainly feasible.

WilliamOwain

Which makes Adkins comments about the number of goals he wants us to score strange. Why give the team that pressure? Had he not learned from last season.

ThatMarcMayo

Too many ex-Prem teams and better-invested Championship sides for me to expect top 6 of this lot. Granted, those 2 labels don't lead to success, but this season in particular we are behind on talent.

Bucks Royal

Obita, Kuhl and Hector will certainly develop nicely, but the longer they develop here, the more likely they are to move on.

Wimb

As Bucks hints at, I think it's a bit naive to just say we can rebuild and expect to be stronger next season. Every year we're down here the greater the chance of bigger sides swooping in on our better players. 

ThatMarcMayo

The formula for success in this league is be there or there about at Xmas. Then anything can happen. That's what I want us to do this season.

Hoops

There's quality, for sure, but not all over the pitch. The team still look a little disjointed, too.

Bucks Royal

How many teams are there in this league with a full XI of quality players though? 

Bucks Royal

Every team has average players and stand out quality.

Wimb

Exactly, and is this squad worse than the last team to win promotion? I'd say it's almost certainly stronger it just needs a couple of tweaks and some injury luck

ThatMarcMayo

Absolutely, but some teams are better managed than ours. Some get luckier with injuries, others have average players become class etc.

So final question... based on all of that, where do you expect the team to finish?


ThatMarcMayo

Just like I said at the start of the season... 10th.

Hoops

10th, or thereabouts.

Bucks Royal

I fancy a late charge to swoop us up into the Playoffs - 5th for me. 

ThatMarcMayo

A brief 'can we make the play offs' period will bump up the interest in April, and subside after a weak display and we'll see the last couple of games tail off into dead rubbers and talk of next season.

Wimb

Bucks I'm agreeing with you a lot this evening! For some reason I'm just feeling boldly optimistic and I think we'll finish 5th. I just think that with new owners and the injured players returning we'll have a decent crack at this. It's a lot of ifs and buts but if those injuries do clear up around Christmas I fancy us to have a strong second half. 

ThatMarcMayo

You didn't sound very optimistic on the podcast after Brentford!

Wimb

Brentford, what is this Brentford you speak of? ;)

WilliamOwain

Until we sort out our injury problems then I think a serious promotion challenge is beyond us. To average 9 players out every game is ridiculous and a serious burden. With that in mind I'm going for 10th. We'll continue to be inconsistent but there will be times when we look really promising.

Bucks Royal

Our worst finish in the last 12 odd years is 9th in the Championship, so at least equalling that will do me just fine. 

Jonny

We should have a strong second half but I still don't think we are one of the best six teams in the league, even when we have everyone back. I'll go 8th, and we'll probably be dreaming of Wembley with two or three games to go.

ThatMarcMayo

I won't be too disappointed with 10th - depending on how we play etc.

ThatMarcMayo

So we have 3 for 10th, 2 for 5th and 1 for 8th. We all know where we won't finish now, at least!


Bucks Royal

Defensive improvements are a must - if the back four don't tighten up soon, we'll leak goals and derail any promotion charge. If we sort that, we could be a right force. 

WilliamOwain

I've far more enjoyed this season than last season. We've had some entertaining games and are trying to play football.

Hoops

Our defence isn't strong (or deep) enough for a sustainable promotion push, I'm afraid.

ThatMarcMayo

We certainly seem set for more goals, goals, goals...