As per our previous report card efforts, a grade will be awarded to each individual player, before an overall mark for the position as a whole. To make things clear, this means an A+ for a cup final-winning performance, and an F for a relegation decider-howler.
Appearances: 49. Clean Sheets: 16.
The official player of the season, Adam Federici. What a place to start - mainly, because things only get worse from here on in. The first thing that struck me while compiling the number of clean sheets that Feds has kept this season is the number he's been a star performer in. Middlesbrough and Ipswich - both home and away - and Derby in the final game of the season are to name but a few. Furthermore, he's been key in keeping the Royals in games and limited the damage in a number of possibly-heavier defeats. That said, he's been on the wrong end of some thumpings, too.
Looking back, the Aussie has had a clear confidence boost from day one of the campaign, where he was chosen to start at Wigan ahead of 2013/14 incumbent Alex McCarthy. From then on, Feds rarely dropped a clanger (we'll get to that later) and showed a level of shot-stopping and aerial command that re-proved his Premier League class. It is no surprise that he played the most minutes of any Royals player this season.
Of course, his big achievement is contradicted by his most (in)famous moment. During his earlier years at the club, Federici was incredibly vulnerable to a howler; as witnessed it the opening of the 2012/13 season and at Wembley last month. Granted, he received high praise for his performance and played marvellously - but it was one hell of an error.
I don't personally buy that Reading only made it to extra-time because of the goalie, but that's besides the point, such plaudits should be noted and taken in. Fortunately, and deservedly, the culmination of Federici's season was a redeeming penalty save against Derby in front of the Sky cameras.
Appearances: 5. Clean Sheets: 1.
A tough year for the Dane, although as just discussed he was never going to get much of a look-in. After a stagnant year on loan at Randers, Andersen was given the odd chance to impress but sadly never grasped it. An early season outing at Sheffield Wednesday was marred by a late deflected-winner for the Owls and subsequent performances at Watford and Rotherham revealed limitations. The poor manner with which he fails to deal with low crosses for both goals up in Yorkshire provides Exhibits A & B for his failings, as much as it pains me to say it.
And yet, Andersen isn't the type of goalie you'd watch from between your fingers. A competent back-up, an academy product, and a stable pro it seems that putting the Dane on the sidelines for whenever needed was a smart decision by the Reading hierachy. Sadly, unless he can settle for more of the same it seems that Andersen is heading out of the Mad Stad door. The best of luck to him, if so, but I couldn't argue with letting him go.
It's very hard to argue with this goalkeeper setup, after all, it could be completely different next season. While neither are perfect, Feds is pretty-darn close for this level and Andersen was experienced and competent enough for the bench. Looking ahead, the promising performances of young keepers Dan Lincoln, Stuart Moore and Jon Henly on-loan and in the U21s is a good sign. But, for this season, you couldn't have realistically had a better pair of goalkeepers.
REPORT CARD GRADES