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Reading FC Ups & Downs: September

So who's seen their reputation and performances go up and who's made a slip back down since we last rated the squad back in August? Time to take a player-by-player look and find out.

Ben Hoskins

PLAYER

GAMES

GOALS

NOTES

TREND

GOALKEEPERS

A Federici

9

0

Picked up a knock and missed the Sheffield Wednesday and a Derby games, but Feds has performed well again this month. He had a dodgy moment against Millwall, but also set up a goal and was solid against Wolves on his comeback. Good displays have also earned a recall up to the Australian squad.

Up

M Andersen

2

0

Andersen did nothing wrong in the two games he stepped in for Federici, making a few top-drawer saves as he did it. If he was an outfield player and played as well as he did he would have been unlucky to lose his place, and the trend of Reading having decent quality goalkeepers on the bench continues.

Up

DEFENDERS

J Cooper

6

0

Came in against Sheffield Wednesday to make his first start, and did really well. Hit the bar with a powerful header, and did his job astutely at the back - he definitely looks to have a lot of promise.

Up

S Cummings

6

1

Hasn’t played since getting that nasty injury at Scunthorpe.

Level

S Griffin

0

0

Yet to make an appearance.

N/A

C Gunter

12

0

Gunter hasn’t had a shocking game this month like he did at Nottingham Forest, and has done everything we expect from him at right back. He may not have got forward and delivered quite as many crosses as we were used to seeing from him last year, but an improvement in defensive performances compared to last month means he is back to his usual self.

Level

S Long

1

0

Hasn’t played since his only appearance in the game at Scunthorpe.

Level

M Hector

10

1

Bagged his first goal for the club against Wolves in impressive fashion with a bullet header, and he seems to be growing in confidence with every game that passes. However, he does have a tendency to switch off at the back on odd occasions and often tries the adventurous ball and puts the team under pressure. If he can iron out the risk taking, he will be one of our top performers.

Level

A Pearce

12

0

An unfortunate own goal at Derby in the cup and an unlucky deflection to the boot of James Henry for Wolves's first at the weekend out a dampened on what has really been a decent money for Alex Pearce - consistent, solid and reliable as usual.

Level

A Ferdinand

0

0

Yet to play.

N/A

MIDFIELD

H Akpan

9

0

With Aaron Kuhl playing well alongside Olly Norwood at the start of the month, it was surprising to see Adkins suddenly take a leap of faith with Hope Akpan. Few fans have complained though, with Akpan looking physically strong, quick and full of energy in central midfield. His first call-up to the Nigeria squad is more than deserved.

Up

R Edwards

9

0

Edwards only started the Capital One Cup game against Derby this month, and came on fairly late in the games against Fulham and Millwall, He put in his usual shift, showing bundles of energy but didn’t do anything to stand out.

Level

D Guthrie

4

0

Returned from injury in the cup game at Derby, and came on against Wolves, which was a game he found it very hard to get into. However, we can’t expect him to be quite up to match fitness yet, and a better reflection of how he will fit into the side this year can only be made once he is fully fit.

Level

A Kuhl

6

0

Lost his place in the starting line up this month to Hope Akpan, which was perhaps a little bit harsh as Kuhl played well upon deputizing in the team in August. When called upon though, Kuhl has done ok and still looks a very talented prospect.

Level

O Norwood

6

0

Looks an absolute gem in the heart of midfield and has arguably been our best player in September. He always gets his head up and passes the ball superbly, hitting his long passes just as accurately as he can short passes which allows us to mount attacks and spread the play quickly. Norwood also has an explosive shot on him, with a few efforts going just high or wide of the target. It won't be long until one flies into the top corner.

Up

J Obita

11

0

Like in August, Jordan Obita has struggled to play as well as he managed last season. Although he has looked more effective returned to last season’s familiar left back than in central midfield where he was placed at points in August, as he is able to use his pace and left foot to whip balls into the box – evidenced by the devastating crosses he put in for Glenn Murray to score twice on his debut, he hasn’t been as good as he was for the majority of last year. Also, his marking cost us for Wolves’s first goal, and his terrible clearance handed them their second. Form is temporary, class is permanent though and the reliable Obita will soon return.

Down

J Stacey

1

0

Only played added time against Ipswich back in mid-August, so still impossible to pass judgment.

Level

A Tshibola

1

0

Hasn’t played since his substitute appearance at Nottingham Forest.

Level

J Taylor

12

3

As alluded to in last months ups and downs, Jake Taylor is not a winger. He does his best when asked to play left midfield, but playing him here means we don't have a winger who can beat a man and lash a cross over, detracting from our attacking threat. Taylor also frequently drifts in field towards the central midfield and leaving Obita overloaded on the left. However, he chipped in with another vital goal against Wolves, timing his run well and showing good composure as he slotted the ball home. Plus, his attitude in playing out of position and having a good stab at it is commendable.

Up

FORWARDS

C Tanner

5

1

An injury has kept Tanner out this month, and opportunities may be limited following the signing of Glenn Murray.

Level

N Blackman

10

3

Blackman has kept growing on Reading fans this month, but frustrating some as well. He was particularly impressive against Millwall, jinking in from the left and inviting a challenge in the area before taking the resulting penalty with a calmness and assurance Reading fans aren’t used to. However, at Sheffield Wednesday and at home against Wolves, Blackman wasn’t noticeable and did a whole lot of nothing when he got the ball. Nevertheless, as our only make-shift winger who has actually beaten his man on regular occasions this year and shown improvement from last season, Blackman is doing a decent job.

Level

S Cox

12

4

Coxy is in a very good run of form. He showed strength, determination and a knack of being in the right place at the right time with his goals against Millwall, and ran at players superbly in the Wolves game, playing the ball through to Murray for a good chance in the first half, and laying it on a plate for Taylor's goal. He is our stand out player at the moment, he isn't selfish, and rarely shoots if others are better placed. He also seems to have a brilliant connection with Glenn Murray, with link-up play between them getting better by the game.

Up

J Mackie

8

0

It seems we are yet to see the Jamie Mackie we signed from Nottingham Forest. We all know he is a very good player at this level, but he's yet to find his feet in a Reading shirt. Playing on the right wing, he lacks half a yard of speed and we don't seem to get too much excitement out of getting the ball to his feet. It's harsh not to pick up on the few enticing crosses he has driven in for Glenn Murray to feed off though, but there's definitely more to come from Mackie - he probably just needs a goal to set him on his way.

Down

P Pogrebnyak

7

1

Has rarely featured due to the signing and impact of Glenn Murray. He missed a free header at the back post against Fulham, which nearly crept in as Gabriel Kiraly in the Fulham goal let it through his hands, but Pog's mistimed jump and consequent header into the ground wasn't good enough, and this won't have done his confidence any good. He also put in a lacklustre display at Derby. Hopefully the good form of Murray and Cox will galvanise the big Russian.

Down

G Murray

4

3

The striker we have all been crying out for since Shane Long was sold. Murray is a match-winner. He has bags of experience at this level, and probably could do a decent job in the Premier League. He does everything Pavel Pogrebnyak has struggled to do throughout his Reading career – holds up the ball well, rarely gets beaten in the air, wins challenges, gets the ball down and plays it quickly, shows good movement. He has added goals to the side and seems to be a player that fans of other clubs see as a threat. The only blight on Murray’s record is the embarrassing penalty scuffle he had with Nick Blackman at Sheffield Wednesday, which he subsequently missed. Crucially though, Murray looks hungry for goals, and his goal celebrations show he plays with a passion that is wonderful to see.

Up


In summary: brackets reflect trend awarded last month (u) = up, (d) = d, (-) = level.

Up – A. Federici (u), M. Andersen (n/a), J. Cooper (u), H. Akpan (-), O. Norwood (-), J. Taylor (u), S. Cox (-), G. Murray (n/a).

Down – J. Obita (d), J. Mackie (-), P. Pogrebnyak (u).

Level – S. Cummings (u), C. Gunter (d), S. Long (-), M. Hector (-), A. Pearce (-), R. Edwards (u), D. Guthrie (-), A. Kuhl (d), J. Stacey (-), A. Tshibola (-), N. Blackman (u), C. Tanner (u).