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The Race For The Armband - Who'll succeed Jobi McAnuff as Reading captain?

With Jobi McAnuff leaving the club earlier this week, it means Reading will begin their first search for a club captain in three years. With several players deputising for Jobi last season, who will be given the honour of replacing the winger next season? We take a look at the contenders and ask you to vote for who you'd like to see given the armband.

Matthew Lewis

The Main Contenders

Sean Morrison

Morrison served as vice-captain throughout much of the season, leading the team out on the opening day against Ipswich and taking the armband regularly throughout the campaign when McAnuff wasn't available.

Nigel Adkins seems to favour him in the defence and with a contract until 2016, he's one of few players you can feel confident will actually be with the club for longer than this season. He shows good leadership traits on the pitch, speaks well to the media and one notable incident aside, seems to keep himself out of trouble.

On the downside he's still fairly young and inexperienced, while the 23-year-old also looked overshadowed by defensive partner Alex Pearce in the final weeks of the season, so is a starting place guaranteed?

Alex Pearce

Pearce has been here before, memorably being named vice-captain by Brendan Rodgers in 2009 and anointed as the next John Terry by the current Liverpool manager. With Ivar Ingimarsson's injury, Pearce was effectively captain at the age of just 21 but he struggled to carry a poor team in transition and when Rodgers left, Brian McDermott gave the armband to Matt Mills.

Since then Pearce has had his fair share of ups and downs, from the highs of winning Player of the Season in 2012 to being dropped and all-but exiled due to a contract dispute the following year. After a slow start last season he slowly got better and better and now looks back to being the man who was given POTS honours two years ago.

For reasons presumably linked to his contract issues, Pearce hasn't been given the armband very often since but his leadership credentials are evident when you see him organising the defence on the field or in the passion he shows when he's playing.

Unfortunately his similarities to Morrison in terms of playing style might lead to one of them making way for a ball-playing centre half so will the Academy graduate be in the team enough to justify the armband? Plus with just one year left on his Reading deal, is he a long-term choice?

Chris Gunter

Another man who led the Royals out last year was Wales full-back Gunter, who's coming off a season that saw him voted runner-up to Jordan Obita for Player of the Season.

The right-back has made the position his own and so playing time wouldn't be an issue, while he's got plenty of Premier League and International experience to help guide through younger players when they come into the side.

On the downside, like so many others he's only contracted here until the end of next season which could count against him, while he's a player that does seem to suffer from bouts of poor confidence which isn't ideal when you're trying to lead a team.


Strong Options

Danny Guthrie

Guthrie was third in line to the armband last year and ended up leading the team out on a fair few occasions. While his off the field problems of 2012 still leave fans divided, Guthrie came back to be a key part of Nigel Adkins plans last season.

Giving him the captaincy seems one of those decisions that's designed to keep the focus of a distracted player and hopefully sooth an ego, in much the same way that McDermott did with Matt Mills or Neil Warnock did with Adel Taraabt a few years back.

Jem Karacan

Injured for most of last season, Karacan is now one of our longest serving players and someone that's really seemed to improve under Adkins' guidance.

His passion is clear to see and his work rate is never in doubt, so leading by example shouldn't be a problem for the Turkish international.

What could count against him is the fact that he is recovering from a serious injury and perhaps the added pressures of the captaincy might not be the best thing for someone who's not played since September.


Outside bets

Garath McCleary

Could Adkins go with a straight winger-for-winger swap? With McCleary possibly in demand from other clubs the captaincy could be used a tool to keep the former Forest man at the club for another season.

Danny Williams

The American had a great first season in Berkshire coming third in the POTS vote. With a contract that runs for another couple of years, Adkins could deicde to build a team around the former Hoffenheim midfielder.

Royston Drenthe

As mentioned above, sometimes giving an erratic player the captaincy can get the very best out of him and if Reading are stuck with the Dutch winger for another season, could Adkins do what Warnock did and hand his most explosive player the captaincy?