1. Adkins set-up
Consistently Reading have conceded soft, soft goals under Adkins where opposition attackers have had the freedom of the Reading half to attack the back line with no midfield protection. This should have been highlighted and sorted, yet after 77 matches the same problem persists with chronic regularity.
2. We no longer look clinical in front of goal
Earlier in the season we scored with regularity, a welcome change from the previous season when we would sometimes go multiple matches registering shots on target in the low single digits. We are rapidly returning to that at a terrible time to do so.
3. (Tentatively related to 2) Adkins signings up until recently had markedly improved the side in their own positions and area of the pitch
Nobody can argue that Danny Williams didn’t improve the midfield, or that Ollie Norwood didn’t improve the passing dynamicism of the midfield, or that Simon Cox and Glenn Murray do not look infinitely more threatening than Pogrebnyak and Le Fondre. That was one strong point of Adkins management, his signings improve the team. Many will point to the fact we are in a lower position in the league, to which the counter is how many defenders have we signed that have played regularly? We score more goals than we did, who’s to say that should he do business on the defence that won’t improve too?
4. (Related to 3) – Adkins placed all his eggs in one positional basket in the summer
Despite losing Leigertwood (defensive midfielder), Gorkks (defender), Bridge (defender), and Morrison (defender) we signed just one defender in return who has played a total of 50 minutes of football so far. Alex Pearce has seriously struggled, comically so in some games with the nadir of his performances coming at Cardiff (own goal conceded, penalty given away, sent off as a result, all in 45 minutes). Until this weekend Cooper had made a surprisingly capable defender, while Hector has had strong games interspersed with naively poor ones, but these players desperately need a leader next to them. Our present captain of choice is nothing like a leader, and it beggars belief that he’s our captain at all. Adkins has to work on the defence in January...should he remain in the job.
5. And that is the big question, will he remain in the job?
Adkins had lost probably 90% of the fans at Birmingham, and it is difficult to argue against as things currently seem to be on a downward spiral. He has had to contend with a set of circumstances that most other managers would walk away from and credit to him for that, but when a footballing ideology isn’t coming together with the players at your disposal then the manager has to see that and play a style of football that suits his players, which feeds nicely into the next salient point – these players do not run themselves into the ground for him so you have to question whether the players really want him there? Under McDermott, under Coppell, under Pardew, the players at their disposal would give everything they had for that manager. You can’t say that for this bunch when coupled to Adkins.
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