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Charlton 3-2 Reading: Four Corners

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Reading surrendered a lead on Saturday to come away with no points from the Valley, but Bucks finds some positives in his alternate take on the match.

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Return of the prodigal son

It never really worked out that well for Simon Church at Reading. The Welshman actually had a pretty good first season under Messrs Rodgers and McDermott, scoring a respectable ten goals, but he failed to make much of an impact after that. Nonetheless, he was one of the more likeable players at the club during his time - the old cliche of 'never stops running' mostly certainly applies here. The reaction to him scoring on Saturday was more one of embarrassment than malice, as his scoring record was so lacklustre in Berkshire. I'm happy for him that he scored, but I don't anticipate him doing too much more of that.

The goals are coming back

Jamie Mackie'll be happy to have some weight taken off his shoulders. Not long ago, the Forest loanee was the only man scoring, but the last three games have changed that. Against Watford, Bradford and Charlton, the likes of Jem Karacan, Hal Robson-Kanu, Garath McCleary and Pavel Pogrebnyak have all got on the scoresheet. And it's fair to say that there have been some good goals in there, with well-worked moves and shots from distance paying off. Steve Clarke will be disappointed with the manner of the defeat, but the Pog's brace (added to those other goals) suggests we've turned a corner up front.

We're actually quite good at protecting leads

You can criticise the team for a lot of things over the last two seasons, but surrendering a lead isn't one of them. As Jonny noted last year, the success that Reading did have came from doggedly defending our position when scoring first. In fact, the match against Charlton was the first time Reading have lost, having taken the lead, since our Premier League days. Defeats like that are always bitter to swallow, but when you put the trip to Charlton into context against that record, it looks more like an anomaly than not.

The international break is a massive boost

Having played thirteen games in the last two months, with a Saturday-midweek-Saturday routine in full swing, Reading can now put their feet up. Well, those not jetting off around the world can at least. Matters don't get much better for the rest of the season, as the Royals have midweek matches constantly until the close of play. This international break gives Steve Clarke's side the chance to have a breather and prepare themselves for the run-in. With nine points separating Reading from the bottom three, I'd suggest that two wins and two draws should guarantee safety, but less than would still likely be enough.