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Reading FC Ups and Downs - November

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Who had a shining November and who will be going through December with a point to prove? We look at how each of Reading's players have fared over the month gone by.

Stu Forster/Getty Images

PLAYER GAMES GOALS NOTES TREND
GOALKEEPERS
Adam Federici
19 0

Another solid and highly respectable month for Adam Federici. He hasn’t put a foot wrong this month, making a very impressive save against Charlton in the final stages of the game to hold us a chance of leveling the match. Feds has continued to command the area well, and his distribution remains strong. The Norwich game also saw a nice gesture to Phil Hughes, with Feds placing a cricket bat behind the net in memory of the cricketer.

LEVEL
Mikkel Andersen
2 0

Hasn’t played since September.

LEVEL
DEFENDERS



Jake Cooper
8 2

Made a couple of appearances during November and looks to have great stature and presence, both defending and attacking. When standing in for the suspended Alex Pearce against Norwich, Cooper was dominant in the air, and played well alongside Michael Hector, as well as scoring two very good headers, making it an outstanding month for young Cooper.

UP
Stephen Kelly 4 0 Made his return from a long injury lay-off in the game against Rotherham and was placed at right-back instead of left-back, where he has frequently played for Reading. He is dependable in defence, very rarely making mistakes, caught ball watching or pulled out of position. His experience in defence is already showing. UP
Shaun Cummings
6 1

Finally getting back to fitness after getting injured in the League Cup earlier this season.

LEVEL
Shane Griffin
0
0

Yet to make an appearance.

LEVEL
Chris Gunter
22 0

Chris Gunter moved over to left back this month to allow Stephen Kelly to play right back and add some more experience to our backline. Although the ever-present Gunter is alright here, his weaknesses are exposed even further in this position. The full-back hasn’t managed to make many successful surges forward to deliver crosses into our box as we saw last season, and this has decreased even more now he is playing on the unfamiliar left hand side.

DOWN
Sean Long
1
0

Hasn’t played since his only appearance in the League Cup game at Scunthorpe. With Shaun Cummings approaching full fitness and Stephen Kelly’s run in the side, Long’s chances of game time have been dashed.

LEVEL
Michael Hector
19 2

Michael Hector scored an important goal against Cardiff to give the side something to play for in the last 10 minutes, but he just doesn’t seem the real deal at centre-back. He is frequently over-zealous in attacking, wanting to drive forward with a run down the middle of the pitch, or takes on players on the halfway line. Hector also gets drawn away from his position too easily, creating gaps for strikers to interchange through or knock the ball in from. His judgement of high balls  towards our backline is often appalling too, with Alex Pearce being put one-on-one with Adam Le Fondre in the match at Cardiff and subsequently getting sent-off because Hector mistimed his interception. Although Hec is still young, and looks to have potential at centre-back, he may be better placed as a defensive central midfielder, where he would have some license to run forward, and missed headers would not have such devastating effects.

DOWN
Alex Pearce 21 0

First things first, Alex Pearce had an absolute nightmare at Cardiff, first scoring an own goal and then getting sent off and conceding a penalty for bringing down Adam Le Fondre as last man inside the area. However, the own goal was unlucky, smashing in off Pearce’s shin from a corner that wasn’t cleared, and as alluded to above, Pearce was put under unnecessary pressure by Le Fondre as a result of Hector failing to win a crucial header. If you use this perspective, Pearce then hasn’t done much wrong in November. He marshals the defence quite well, wins the challenges he needs to and holds his position well. In attack, he often wins headers and knock downs from free kicks and corners, and overall does a solid job for the team.

LEVEL
Anton Ferdinand
2 0 Made his first appearance against Rotherham and looks a very decent player at this level. He then picked up a knock and was out until the Norwich game, where he came on as a late substitute. Ferdinand showed a calmness on the ball when he played against Rotherham, and he has physique, power and experience, so he could be crucial in our defence during the second half of the season.

N/A

Jordan Obita
21 0

Jordan Obita has so much potential, but he just isn't living up to the hype. Having finally been removed from the back four, Obita was given a long awaited chance to play at left wing against Rotherham, and he failed to deliver. Although still young and with plenty more to learn, how one-dimensional Obita is is frightening. Everything about him - his movement, his shimmies, his runs - all go left towards his favoured foot. Defenders know he is lost if he has to play inside. He can get away with always going left a bit more when he plays defence as he doesn't have to get forward as much, but when beating a man and delivering a cross is his responsibility in midfield, he isn't doing enough because he turns back when he can't go down the left flank.

DOWN
MIDFIELDERS
Hope Akpan 14 0

Dropped against Rotherham which didn’t really seem warranted, and then got injured playing for Nigeria and will be out for 3 months. A shame for a bright spark in the Reading team who had become a regular and valued by the fans for the defensive shifts he put in.

DOWN
Ryan Edwards
10 0

Where has he gone?

DOWN
Danny Guthrie
5 0

Still injured.

LEVEL
Aaron Kuhl
8 0

Out all month with an injury.

LEVEL
Oliver Norwood
16 0

A very decent month for Olly Norwood. Norwood always looks to be positive on the ball, getting it forward and spreading the play to start attacks. The lack of options up front are often his downfall, with limited outlets for the ball, but he still finds ways to play attacking passes and link up the play.

UP
Jack Stacey
1 0

Didn’t play this month.

LEVEL
Jake Taylor
20 3

Committed and hard-working when he appears from the bench, but hasn’t had an impact this month.

LEVEL
Danny Williams 5 0 WCame back from injury this month and after being out for so long, he’s done brilliantly. As committed as ever, Williams flies in for challenges, holds the ball well and can drive through the heart of the pitch to great effect. He’s had a couple of long shots which have been close, and also a couple which have flown well over, but his persistence and doggedness in central midfield haven’t been shaken by his injury lay-off. UP
Aaron Tshibola
1 0

Fit again, and has been on the bench, but hasn’t played since his substitute appearance at Nottingham Forest.

LEVEL
Garath McCleary 2 0 Made a long awaited return from his back injury as a sub at Cardiff. Added a burst of energy on the wing, and sparked optimism into the travelling supporters. His touch was off, and he miscontrolled the ball a couple of times, but this was to be expected. He then started at Norwich and whilst he didn’t shine in this game, his pace and stepovers were a joy to see and he will definitely offer a much-needed extra to the squad in the coming months LEVEL
Hal Robson-Kanu
10 0

Thank heavens – Nigel Adkins is slowly ditching the idea of playing Hal Robson-Kanu up front, where he won no headers, barely had a shot and didn’t create a single chance for his co-striker. Placed on the right wing, and cutting in onto his explosive and accurate (when given the chance) left foot, Robson-Kanu has looked more at home. He has a little bit of trickery up his sleeve, a yard of pace, a lot of strength, and a half decent delivery, giving him all the attributes to perform as a winger. Performing though, has proved difficult. Kanu thinks he better than he is, and since bagging that massive contract a couple of years ago, he has developed a monumental ego and an arrogance which is being exposed time and time again when defenders take one look at his attitude and desire in going for headers or chasing the ball down and walk all over him.

DOWN
FORWARDS



Nick Blackman 15 4

Lost his place in the starting 11 this month after the Blackburn loss, and he hasn’t featured as a substitute perhaps as much as he should have done. Where he has played, he has been nothing to write home about, and a stupid dive at Cardiff to try and win a penalty makes it a pretty poor month for Blackman.

DOWN
Simon Cox
17 5

Cox took both of his goals at Rotherham fantastically, showing a goal scoring instinct which is top quality at Championship level. However, Cox has gone missing in games in November. He huffed and puffed against Blackburn, couldn’t get on the end of anything against Charlton, and was naturally sacrifced at Cardiff to cover for the red carded Alex Pearce as he had been anonymous in the first half. He is clearly a player that can deliver, and most supporters would probably say he needs to be included in the team to provide movement and options for Glenn Murray, but two goals against Rotherham and a frustrating time of it for the rest of the months fixtures means November never really got off the ground for Simon Cox.

DOWN
Jamie Mackie
16 1

Jamie Mackie will have been disappointed to have been dropped against Blackburn at the start of the month, and he then picked up an injury ruling him out of games at Cardiff and Norwich. However, in between these two, he grabbed his first goal for Reading against Rotherham, and he also played through a fantastic ball to assist Simon Cox’s first goal in this game. We’ve now seen flashes of the Jamie Mackie that tore defences apart in his time at QPR and Nottingham Forest, and Mackie has frequently quoted how much is his enjoying football at Reading at the moment, suggesting he is regaining some confidence. He may not be the fastest of players, but he isn’t afraid to shift the ball onto wither foot whilst at the byline, and he twists and turns with a tenacity which is difficult for defenders to handle. Mackie was missed in the Cardiff game in particular, where we struggled with any sort of width, and a speedy return to fitness is what supporters want to see.

UP
Pavel Pogrebnyak
12
1

An injury kept him out of all four matches in November, and Pog is becoming a bit of a forgotten man with Cox and Murray definitely the preferred strikers.

DOWN
Craig Tanner
5 1

Hasn’t played in November due to injury and looks set to be out for the season.

LEVEL
Glenn Murray
13 5

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

SUMMARY:

UP: Cooper, Williams, Norwood, Mackie, Kelly

LEVEL: Federici, Andersen, Cummings, Griffin, Long, Pearce, Guthrie, Kuhl, Stacey, Taylor, Tshibola, McCleary, Tanner, Murray

DOWN: Gunter, Hector, Obita, Akpan, Edwards, Robson-Kanu, Pogrebnyak