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5 Things: Brighton 1-1 Reading

Marc Mayo takes his views from the Brighton game and discusses 5 things we can all learn from the 1-1 draw.

Charlie Crowhurst

1. Alex McCarthy is not going to the World Cup.

Did anyone think he realistically could/should have? Surely not after his form of late. There are 3 top England ‘keepers in the Premiership, another one between the sticks for Celtic and many would take Butland or Green out of the Championship ahead of Macca. A bad thing? Not really. He’s much less likely to attract summer interest without the Hodgson seal of approval, and with less speculation he can get his head down and improve for the Royals. On the topic of goalies…

2. Is it time to bring back Federici?

Are we about to see Adam Federici return? A top performance last time out against Brighton in January re-assured us of his quality, and McCarthy has made rushing out errors that have led to 2 of our last 3 conceded goals. McCarthy is young and as a keeper that makes him raw, while Federici has always been somewhat error-prone; but many of the Reading faithful would happily see him come in for a few games- something that could do both keepers some good.

3. The play-offs are out of our hands.

We are back up to 6th on goal difference, but Wigan have 2 games in hand and look in very good form. Look further below and we have little reason to fear the likes of Brighton or Ipswich, but failure to take 3 points off the former on Saturday leaves us 3 points behind Nottingham Forest and 8 behind QPR. Granted, neither are on top form, but with some crucial games coming up and given our inability to win tight games, we are left teetering on  the brink of missing out.

4. Royston is the best player in the league (for the time being).

That ‘time being’ could see us through until May, or the end of March, or to 20:03 on Tuesday night. But Royston Drenthe’s first goal, return to fitness, and apparent rise in attitude has seen him become more crucial to Reading in the past week. His skill is undoubted and his fear factor is hard to match, but his unpredictability remains…

5. I’m going to be proved right come May.

Rewind back to my 5 things after the Ipswich game: ‘None of our strikers are going to hit 20 goals this season.’Back then Adam Le Fondre was in between his 2 consecutive home-hat-tricks, but since netting the third against Blackpool he has hit a drought, stuttering on 13, and Pog's 9 includes just 2 in his last 6 starts.
We are struggling to score, and the buck stops with the strikers.