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5 Things: Reading FC v Charlton Athletic

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Reading once again struggled at home, this time against a well organised Charlton side, but what were the main talking points from the game? @WilliamOwain recaps the action with his 5 Things.

Stu Forster

1) Perspective

Before this season most Reading fans said they expected a season of transition mostly spent in mid-table, and so far that is what they have got. 14th place is as mid-table as you can be.

Of course, in reality a season of inconsistent mid-table football isn't that exciting, so maybe Reading fans are now realising that they don't actually fancy a year of consolidation. So what are our expectations for this season? If it remains less than a play-off challenge then maybe we should start accepting the realities of what that will entail.

2) Jordan Obita

Jordan Obita is a talented footballer, but how good he really is, and what his best position is, is still open to debate. At his best he is one of the division's best crossers, but far too often his crossing seems lazy and easy fodder for opposition's defences.

Perhaps the biggest worry though, his inability to dribble past players. If he cannot improve that aspect of his game then surely he will have to accept that left back is his position. In his defence, he is still very young, and playing in an underperforming team. But if he needs a warning then he might want to read my next point.

3) Has Chris Gunter had a "Royston Drenthe" moment?

As pointed out in his statistical review of the game, Chris Gunter once again failed to stop a decisive cross. Straight after the goal it was noticeable how many players angrily turned on their captain. Gunter's body language spoke of a player out of confidence.

To me it looks like Gunter has had a "Royston Drenthe" moment. In my view the saddest thing about Drenthe last season was that, at least on match days, he was clearly trying. The problem was that he simply wasn't very good and couldn't cope with the reality that, far from realising his early potential, he had got worse since first bursting on the scene at Feyenoord.

Now Gunter clearly hasn't declined like Drenthe. But at 18 he was a regular for Cardiff City and being linked with big money moves to the Premier League.

It may be that it has started to dawn on the Wales international that he hasn't really improved since then. Knowing you're not and maybe never will realise your potential would affect your confidence. Gunter needs the support of his manager to get his career back on track.

4) Reading fans' apathy

If you went by the post match response on Twitter you would have thought the full time whistle had been greeted by a chorus of boos. Yet, where I was sat in the East Stand, I didn't hear much booing. In fact I didn't hear much noise from Reading fans all game.

This is not surprising given the way the game played out, and as I mentioned in my first point, mid-table football just doesn't generate much excitement. But I'm starting to wonder whether the biggest condemnation of the Nigel Adkins era is the increasing apathy of Reading fans.

Crowds are down and the atmosphere on Saturday suggested that most fans were neither that surprised nor too worked up about the Royals losing again. In the end that might be the end of Adkins. Nothing will scare the club's Thai owners more than fans voting with their feet.

5) Looking forward to the international break

Ask most English football fans about international breaks and they'll probably give a less than positive answer. If you believe the rumours there are certain England internationals who also don't look forward to international football. But I bet if you ask the Reading players about to set off for international duty, they would say they can't wait.

Seven Reading players are about to join national squads trying to qualify for Euro 2016, Hope Akpan is looking to help Nigeria qualify for the (maybe soon to be postponed) Africa Cup of Nations held in January, and Adam Federici will be hoping for a recall when Australia announce their squad for the Asian Cup taking place on home soil, also in the New Year.

All these campaigns are more exciting than the one which Reading are currently involved in. Does this make Reading a rare case in modern English football? A club where players can't wait to go on international duty and don't look forward to returning to club football.