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Reading FC Ups and Downs - October

Jen provides an examination of how each player has performed through October, using their experience and past performances this season as a benchmark.

Ben Hoskins

PLAYER GAMES GOALS NOTES TREND
GOALKEEPERS
Adam Federici
14 0

Played for Australia for the first time in 2 years this month, and was the only defensive player at the club to emerge from our pitiful run of 7 games without a win with any sort of credit. Amongst a defence that has looked at sixes and sevens, Federici continued to be reliable. In the Bournemouth game in particular, he made three outstanding saves to keep the game at 3-0 and save the score line from getting any more embarrassing for the traveling fans. His post-match interview also has to be mentioned – Feds being the first player to really front up to difficult questions about the team’s performance and why we capitulate after conceding the first goal. In a team that seems to be lacking leadership, such fighting spirit from Feds was a slight positive coming out of a desperately disappointing run of results.

UP
Mikkel Andersen
2 0

Played really well when he stepped in for Federici last month, but hasn’t appeared since.

LEVEL
DEFENDERS



Jake Cooper
6 0

Hasn’t got onto the pitch this month.

LEVEL
Shaun Cummings
6 1

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

LEVEL
Shane Griffin
0
0

Yet to make an appearance.

LEVEL
Chris Gunter
17
0

In many ways, Gunter isn't one of the first players we should criticise for our defensive problems throughout October.  However, with his experience Gunter should be able to lead the team much better than he has done. Against Brentford, and especially Bournemouth, conceding one goal quickly turned to conceding three goals with the team being sent into shock after going behind. Going forward he doesn’t get beyond Mackie sufficiently, and he hardly delivers anything, let alone a good ball, into the box.

DOWN
Sean Long
1
0

Hasn’t played since his only appearance in the game at Scunthorpe. With Stephen Kelly’s return to fitness, his chance of first team football will also now be limited.

LEVEL
Michael Hector
15 1

October has been a month Michael Hector will want to forget. His positioning has been all over the place, he has been turned left right and centre, and left our other defenders hopelessly exposed. As a result, he has been responsible for a number of goals- 2 at Bournemouth stand out – and his confidence has been shot.

DOWN
Alex Pearce 17 0

Apart from letting a ball bounce before he went in for a header in the lead up to one of Bournemouth’s goals, Pearce hasn’t done anything majorly wrong over the past 4 games or so. This is mainly because he doesn’t try anything adventurous and keeps his play simple.  Along with the rest of the back four though, he has to take flak for some woeful all round defending. And if Gunter can be criticised for not allowing his experience to bring some composure at the back, the same argument must be made about Pearce,

LEVEL
Anton Ferdinand
0 0 it's been a cruel second half of the season for Morrison who hasn't played since the draw with QPR due to injury and has seen Pearce, Gorkss and now Michael Hector all stake claims for a regular spot.

N/A

Jordan Obita
16 0

Too many goals are nodded in or fall to players at the post Obita is meant to be marking. Although we need to cut him a bit of slack for this as he’s doing a decent job being played in a position that isn’t his favoured one, when you really take note of how often goals seem to fly in from his side after a deep cross, it is staggering and further exposes how badly the team suffer when we don’t properly invest in it in the positions we need to. Going forward, however, Obita has shown he has all the credentials to become a top winger, proving he has a yard of pace and the ability to whip in a number of tantalizing crosses to his teammates.

DOWN
MIDFIELDERS
Hope Akpan 12 0

Compared to where he was this time a year ago, the 2014 Hope Akpan looks a world-beater. He has become much stronger in midfield, and performs a disciplined defensive role to allow Ollie Norwood time to play the fancy passes. Apkan is probably one of just a few players who it would be reasonable to say hasn’t let his performances dip massively, and he is becoming an unsung hero in the Reading side.

UP
Ryan Edwards
10 0

Edwards ran around a lot to no avail at Brentford and had a couple of shots that went just wide. He seems to be slipping out of favour and it seems Adkins hasn’t really found where Edwards’ best position is.

DOWN
Danny Guthrie
5 0

Getting Guthrie back into the side could be a revelation for Reading, but most fans are rightfully starting to get fed up with his steady lack of fitness. When someone returns from injury only to go immediately back to the treatment table again for a different strain, it's very frustrating and disappointing.

DOWN
Aaron Kuhl
8 0

He hasn’t played that often – coming on against Derby and making just one start against Brentford, where he did quite well until he got caught on the ball and Brentford scored from it.  Kuhl rarely wastes the ball though, not being afraid of playing the simple pass if nothing else is on, but he does also jump into challenges a lot allowing opposing players to just push the ball past him. So all in all, its been a strange month for Kuhl, and compared to how impressed we were with him during his initial run in the team, this month has been disappointing for the youngster.

DOWN
Oliver Norwood
11 0

After a remarkable first month at the club, Ollie Norwood is one of the first names on our team sheet. However, his form has dipped slightly during our poor October. Norwood has found it more difficult to get his range of passing in games, perhaps because teams are quicker to press him – which was particularly evident against Bournemouth and Derby. This is probably just a temporary blip for the talented midfielder, but how he responds next month will be interesting.

DOWN
Jack Stacey
1 0

Didn’t play this month.

LEVEL
Jake Taylor
16 3

Although he hasn’t done anything special during October, Taylor works hard in midfield and whilst not the most skillful of players, his attitude and effort are making him a fans favourite. Even though the team has been through a very sticky patch, the commitment Taylor shows whenever he plays must be commended.  He also has ability to arrive in the right place at the right time to knock the ball in or be critical in build up play – like in the Blackpool game where he forced Clarke's own goal.

LEVEL
Aaron Tshibola
1 0

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

LEVEL
Hal Robson-Kanu
6 0

Of all the players to be criticised this month, Hal Robson-Kanu has to be right up there. Since coming back from injury, Adkins has tested him out at left wing against Brentford and up-front against Bournemouth, and he has been woeful at each. With the forward failing to live up to the hype, there are plenty of younger, hungrier players who could come in and do a better job than him at the moment – be it on the wing or up-front.

DOWN
FORWARDS



Nick Blackman 15 4

Although Blackman can take a lot of abuse from fans for looking lack-lustre on the wing, he hasn’t done too badly this month.  Left back Jordan Obita doesn’t overlap Blackman enough on the left to provide him with an option on the wing or drag a defender away to create space. This makes it more difficult for Blackman to do his job as a winger. Blackman does however do a respectable job at holding onto the ball. His penalty conversion was also impressive.

LEVEL
Simon Cox
17 5

Despite a good September,  Cox was mysteriously dropped against Brentford and his lack of presence up front in the first half may have cost us. Cox has continued to show his experience of the Championship this month when he has played, making the most of feeding off the scraps he has been provided up front and making intelligent runs where possible.

LEVEL
Jamie Mackie
13 0

Painful but strong doubts are beginning to set in about Jamie Mackie. He looks half the player we saw at QPR and Forest, finding it difficult to inflict any sort of damage on the opposition's back four. Whilst he did come on against Brentford to good effect, and was as average as the majority of the team in the rest of the games this month, the promise that the signing of Jamie Mackie brought hasn’t come to fruition yet. He's working very hard as shown by his player of the month nominaton but for me I feel he's still below par.

DOWN
Pavel Pogrebnyak
11
1

Pavel Pogrebnyak has barely played this month, with Cox and Murray or irritatingly Cox and Robson-Kanu preferred to the Big Russian, meaning there isn’t a lot to judge him on.

LEVEL
Craig Tanner
5 1

Hasn’t played in October due to injury.

LEVEL
Glenn Murray
8 4

Murray hasn’t played as much as we would have liked during October. A niggling injury kept him out of the game against Bournemouth and took the sting out of our attack. Nevertheless, when Murray has featured he has continued to show he is a proven Championship striker, getting into the danger areas and causing a nuisance for defenders, using his strength and physique to win headers, create chances and score.

LEVEL

In summary:

(Last month's rating in brackets)

Ups

A. Federici (u), H. Akpan (u),

Downs

C. Gunter (-) M. Hector (-), A. Pearce (-), R. Edwards (-), D. Guthrie (-), A, Kuhl (-), O. Norwood (u), J. Obita (d), H. Robson-Kanu (n/a),  J. Mackie (d),

Levels

M. Andersen (u) S. Cummings (u), J. Cooper (u), S. Long (-), J. Stacey (-), J. Taylor (u), A. Tshibola (-), N. Blackman (u), P. Pogrebnyak (d), S. Cox (u), C. Tanner (u), G. Murray (u).

So, what do you think? Has Jen got it nailed on or are there some you disagree with? Let us know in the comments below, tweet, or Facebook us.