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5 Things - Brighton and Norwich

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A first point and a first win for new boss Steve Clarke as Reading face Brighton and Norwich in the festive period. Bucks Royal rounds the action up in the penultimate 5 Things of 2014...

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1) Royals put on their shooting boots

At our best this season under Nigel Adkins, Reading seemed capable of scoring freely, but conceding in equal number. In the last few weeks of the former boss' tutelage though, the Royals struggled to do the former, but goals still flooded in past Adam Federici - the game at St. Andrews being the extreme example of that, and being the straw that broke the camel's back for Adkins' time at the club.

However, in the last two games under Steve Clarke, noticeable improvements have been made. The defending against Brighton showed that there's still work to be done, but four goals in two games shows that Clarke has already improved Reading's threat in front of goal.

2) Au revoir, Glenn Murray

It seems that the Palace loanee has played his last game in the blue and white hoops. That may have not seemed such a disappointing prospect a few weeks ago when Murray wasn't finding the back of the net, but a brace against Brighton put him level with Simon Cox as Reading's top scorer with 8 goals. With worries over FFP still looming over the club, it's still unsure as to how willing Reading will be to fork out for the veteran striker. Not to mention, mid-table Championship football may not appeal to a player that could probably be playing regularly a division higher if he so wishes.

3) Neil Adams watches Norwich lose to a side like Reading... twice

Norwich aren't one of those sides that I dislike, and Reading haven't had too much of a bad history with the East Anglia side in recent years. That said, comments from Canary boss Neil Adams at the time of the reverse fixture that Norwich fans shouldn't be watching their side lose at home to a team like Reading aren't going to help. Norwich are a good side, and played attractive football in their Premiership stint, but they're not such an important club that a loss to the best side in all of Berkshire is out of the question. With that in mind, I was pleased to see Danny Williams' comments today about how Neil Adams inadvertently spurred Steve Clarke's side on to do the double.

4) The fans are coming back

At 19.430, Sunday's attendance was the highest home turnout of the season so far. That's an encouraging way to see out 2014, and bodes well for 2015 because it shows that the supporters are getting their belief back in the side. Fans won't mind seeing their team lose as long as they look like they're trying to win, but there was far too little of that in the last few weeks of the Nigel Adkins era. As confidence comes back into the fanbase, that will translate into performances on the pitch and points on the board.

5) Return of the prodigal son?

Now that Glenn Murray's loan deal in Berkshire has expired, so too has Royston Drenthe's. The Dutch winger was ejected from the club on transfer deadline day in the summer with a temporary move to Sheffield Wednesday, but he could find himself back in Reading in the coming days. Steve Clarke will be well aware of Drenthe's reputation here, let alone of his reputation throughout his career, but he could be tempted to give him another chance to prove his worth. Steve Clarke sides are known for breaking with pace, and Drenthe offers just that.