1. We could do with a few wondergoals
If you haven't seen Nick Blackman's cracking effort against Swansea at the weekend, then check it out below...
It was a stunner and Fabianski had no chance of saving it. But aside from that shot, there was very little else to speak of, aside from the usual fluent enough build up and passing along the back four. Granted, Swansea fielded a pretty strong side, but their defence was rarely troubled by a pass in behind, or some quick touches around them. Pavel Pogrebnyak rarely got a touch, let alone inside or around the box. A worry, but hopefully against lesser sides in the Championship we might create more.
2. Pace is still a problem
We knew last year with Alex Pearce and Sean Morrison that pace is a major threat against the Royals, and it was proven again by Wayne Routledge grabbing a brace. One of the nippier wingers around, he broke the offside trap for the first before Gylfi Sigurdsson found him totally unmarked for the second. In fairness to the back four, they weren't much helped by the midfield, who were bypassed with alarming regularity by the Swansea front line, but it's a weakness that every team will try to exploit this season.
3. Hope Akpan and Michael Hector didn't impress
That's a kind way of putting the point that both players had shockers on Saturday - Hector basically gifting Swansea and Bafetimbi Gomis the third with a wayward pass to Morrison which was intercepted and lifted over Federici with class. But if these two are to play together regularly (and with the current injury situation, it looks likely), it'll need more work on the training pitch.
It's hard to make full judgments simply based on a few pre-season matches, but Akpan still looks a bit lost and needs that extra touch to compose himself, whilst Hector somewhat reminds me of David Luiz, in the sense that he's not quite a centre-back, nor is he a central midfielder. Hopefully I'm proved wrong, as I think they both still have immense potential.
4. The injury list is frightening
Garath McCleary, Danny Williams, Danny Guthrie, Jem Karacan, Hal Robson-Kanu and Stephen Kelly were all sitting out of Saturday's match. And LocalBerkshire reports that Jordan Obita might now miss the season opener against Wigan Athletic with a knock he picked up late in the game on Saturday.
Seven players, all of whom would have been in the matchday squad, and most of whom would have started at the DW Stadium, will be in the treatment room instead. With the squad already looking pretty threadbare, Nigel Adkins might have to rely on youth rather than blooding them slowly.
5. Give youth a chance
As noted above, we might have to, but at least the youngsters who came on performed well and didn't look overawed by the experience. Federici and Cummings aside though, the other ten Royals on the bench had made zero professional appearances for Reading - take out Andersen and Sweeney, and that's eight players without any games for a senior football club.
The U21 League is a great initiative, and the Royals youth have enjoyed tremendous success in recent years, but such reliance on inexperienced teenagers shouldn't be necessary. Most of our successful youth products have spent many a season on loan elsewhere before coming back to cement a place here - perhaps the times are changing, so here hoping that thrusting the kids into the battles of Championship football will make them, not break them.
Are you confident ahead of the season opener against Wigan? What are your thoughts on the points above? Let us know in the comments section...