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The Tilehurst End October Round Table - Part 1: Transfers, Poor Starts & More

With no podcasting duties and a two week international break, the editorial team here at The Tilehurst End come together to talk this summer's best buys, those who are underperforming and more in the first of a two-part round table discussion.

Ben Hoskins

So 11 games down, what grade would you give Reading FC so far for their Championship efforts?

ThatMarcMayo

C. A basic pass, we haven't done anything to beat expectations. 

Hoops

C. Far too inconsistent to be deserving anything higher. We're inconsistent within games, let alone as a run of form. I think we're where we all thought we'd be at the start of the season, but haven't done anything worthy of special mention.

ThatMarcMayo

With that in mind, we haven't done anything badly wrong. The majority of us thought mid-table would be this squad's ability- so it has proven thus far.

Bucks Royal

B - Pretty much what we've expected from the season. The youngsters have come into the side well and the injury crisis has been well managed. The style of play has certainly improved, but there's room for improvement.

Wimb

I'm with Bucks, for me it's a solid B- It's not been pretty but in the circumstances we've had a fairly good start that's kept us nearer to the teams at the top than nervously looking over our shoulders. Sure games like Huddersfield and Brentford drive you bonkers but to be 13th with the players we've had absent and the summer of uncertainty is a decent effort in my book.

Jonny

C, average, pass, whatever you want to call it but just enough. Not outstanding in any match, and not one complete 90 minutes of football (aside from possibly against ten man Fulham). Injuries will be the excuse for now, which means that when we come to do this again in a couple of months, there might be no excuse.

Bucks Royal

As Adkins has said, it's about staying in the race. We're definitely doing that, and have the potential to rise up the table as the season goes on.

Hoops

Although if we're doing it compared to his barmy goalscoring targets we're considerably less than a pass up to this point...

Bucks Royal

And for every Huddersfield and Brentford, there have been surprisingly good results like Wigan and Middlesbrough. The main worry at the moment is the defence, we can't get away from that.

The past summer has arguably been Nigel Adkins' first proper transfer window - and Cox, Murray and Norwood were all in our Player Of The Month top three for September. Which do you think will be most important going forward over the course of the season (assuming Murray stays past January)?

Hoops

Firstly, I think right now it's worth saying kudos to Adkins, Hammond & co for signing those three. They've all had good starts and have slotted straight in, which is what you want after all the upheaval we had over the summer.

Jonny

Agreed Hoops - and very encouraging that those three of "his" players have been our best in their first full month.

Wimb

Got to be Norwood. Adkins is trying to evolve the playing style at this football club and he needs players as comfortable on the ball as Olly is to help make that happen. The likes of Cox and Murray are nice in the short term but not exactly players that are going to revolutionise the way we operate.

WilliamOwain

I think Simon Cox is the player we were missing last season. His ability to drop deep is so important and has made us a better team on the ball. Norwood though does look an upgrade on Guthrie as does Murray for Pog.

ThatMarcMayo

While Norwood is a very able 'Adkins' player- in his solid passing, positioning and style... I must say how impressed I've been with Simon Cox. Having players like Norwood is great, lest, with no movement up front it simply doesn't work. Murray can and shall be a good finisher/target man, but the one who will cause defences problems with his work-rate, movement, and goalscoring ability, will be Cox. He'll win us the most points.

Hoops

Over the course of the season I can't see it being anyone other than Murray. Cox has looked superb, but we have a number of players (Taylor, Blackman, HRK, Edwards, etc) that can play in that position. Norwood has a massive fight on his hands once the midfield is back fit; whereas Murray is the perfect striker for our current system. Hybrid target man/poacher that we need. If he gets injured, our goal threat is significantly reduced in my eyes. I just don't see Pog as being able to pick up any slack.

Bucks Royal

They're all obviously very important in their own way, but Norwood could be crucial in the transition to the oft-mentioned 'Adkins style of football'. His passing really shone against Fulham and Millwall, and it'll be important to see that replicated going forwards. The fact that Adkins was reported to have been watching him last season and was evidently so keen to snatch him the summer speaks volumes about how highly he's rated. With Guthrie falling out of form, the quarterback role is very much up for grabs.

Wimb

Agreed on Simon Cox Marc & Will, he's been excellent and his ability to find the back of the net has been pleasing given how he was a bit goal shy at West Brom and Forest.

Bucks Royal

Agreed with all the comments about Cox - we haven't had someone who's really been able to make that 'in behind the striker' role their own since Gylfi left, and Cox looks like he'll be able to do that.

Hoops

It helps that Cox is a local lad, too. He's got fans on his side.

WilliamOwain

What's interesting about Cox and Norwood is that the fans at their old clubs were happy to see them go.

Bucks Royal

I think Jamie Mackie deserves a word here too - his experience could be invaluabe this season, and his work rate is without question. Both of those are things any side needs.

Jonny

A bit disappointed by Mackie so far - a lot of effort but not much end product.

Hoops

Mackie has a long way to go before being considered most important going forward, though.

WilliamOwain

Agree with the comments about Mackie though his performance at Brentford was encouraging.

Which player has had a disappointing start to the season?

Hoops

Robson-Kanu...

Jonny

Obita and Gunter. Obita looked to be the left-back solution last season but just now, teams seem to be figuring him out. And whilst Gunter was a solid 7/10 last season, he seems to now be a solid 6/10. Both have looked very vulnerable.

WilliamOwain

Agree with the comments about Gunter and Obita. This is a massive season for Gunter. His contract runs out at the end of the season and I can't really see anyone bigger or better than Reading wanting him. He's a player who needs to step up and realise his potential. In some ways he's a warning to Obita. Has Gunter improved since he was a teenager, probably not. Obita did well last season but it won't take long for him to stop being judged as an young inexperienced player.

ThatMarcMayo

Maybe the armband is weighing him down?

Bucks Royal

He always looked calm and composed last season, so I'm not sure that the armband is an unnatural thing for him to have.

Jonny

Exactly, I honestly don't see how being captain has affected him at all - he doesn't look like a leader on the field.

Bucks Royal

I think the Pog has disappointed me actually - he's seemingly one of the few players that hasn't been affected by injuries that much and, for someone who had a good season last time out, he doesn't seem to have got near the team (although Murray's arrival hardly helps).

Wimb

Hal Robson-Kanu..... nah I'll give him a pass as he's been injured. Pog has obviously faded badly from a player who I'd really grown to love at the end of last season but like Jonny haven't exactly been blown away by Obita either. That's probably more down to the lofty standard he set last season than being 'bad' as he's still been decent.

WilliamOwain

Can Robson-Kanu be considered given he's been injured? I went to the Wales game on Friday and he was really effective. The Wales fans really rate him.

ThatMarcMayo

The calls for HRK may be numerous- but he's but unfit and I have no expectations for him at this stage of the season... So I'll say Gunter. It pains me to do so, but he's gone from a reliable, confident and solid right-back to a more error-prone, somewhat confused player. He's seemed a bit lightweight recently, I remember how he got shoved to the back of the West Stand for Huddersfield's 2nd goal last month, and needs to step up to show experience in a young defence.

Bucks Royal

Agreed, Robson-Kanu deserves a pass as he's barely played so far.

Hoops

Tempted to say Pearce. Considering he's now that experienced head at the back, he's hardly shining and showing those 'John Terry' characteristics that Rodgers saw in him. He needs to buck up his ideas.

ThatMarcMayo

Agree with Hoops on Pearce, relates to Gunter, we need one of those 2 to step up as the experienced head in that back 4

Wimb

Fair commnets on Pearce Hoops. I said on a podcast a few weeks ago that he's been one of the unsung heros but in recent weeks he's looked shaky and not helped settle a nervous looking defence.

Hoops

That own goal (as you mentioned in podcast this week) looks to have rattled him.

Bucks Royal

The own goal at Derby did seem to make Pearce back out of challenging for Wolves' first goal.

You can follow the editorial team on Twitter; we are @TheTilehurstEnd, @Jonnafon, @RoyalHoops, @ThatMarcMayo, @BucksRoyal and @WilliamOwain.

On a slightly different topic, we at the Tilehurst End are up for a couple of awards. Details of how to vote are here, and we would be very grateful if you could help us out with some much-needed votes.