clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Steve Clarke Approval Rating - August 2015

New, comments

Are you happy with the job Steve Clarke is doing as Reading manager? Vote now.

Martin Willetts/Getty Images

Positives

Transfers, transfers, transfers. Thirteen (depending on who you count) new players into the first team, many of them causing real excitement amongst the fanbase as the previously stale squad suddenly looks one of the strongest in recent years. The deadline day acquisition of Matej Vydra has really got people talking - finally, a clinical, pacey striker who should set fear into opposition defences.

But every single one of the new arrivals (since our last edition of this series) looks as though they are ready to help Reading challenge once again. Andrew Taylor, an experienced left-back who will no doubt both guide and push Jordan Obita to greater things. Paolo Hurtado, an exciting Peruvian winger who arrives from the Portuguese First Division. Alex Fernandez, Ola John and Lucas Piazon arrive on loan to hopefully add creativity into the midfield. And Vydra, who will score plenty.

And that's leaving out the players who had already arrived for the start of the season. Paul McShane has struck up a first-class partnership with Anton Ferdinand at the heart of defence. Orlando Sa looks an upgrade on the departed Pavel Pogrebnyak, smart, skilful and strong - and his first goal in Royals colours was a peach. Stephen Quinn has slotted into the midfield nicely too. Add the "new" new boys and suddenly the team looks very exciting indeed.

On the pitch, results haven't been too forthcoming but performances have been very encouraging. Reading have arguably been the better side in all seven matches played in August, but only have one Championship win to show for it - a very convincing victory at Griffin Park. And despite the goal drought at home, we should have put MK Dons and probably Leeds United to the sword. Here's hoping the new faces can swiftly turn our fortunes around, and what better way to showcase the "new" Royals than under the lights, on the box, against Ipswich Town next Friday night?

Negatives

You can't always strike gold in the transfer market and one position in particular has looked shaky - goalkeeper. Neither Jonathan Bond nor Ali Al Habsi have fully convinced between the sticks yet, though it's certainly early days in the former's career and long-term prospects. Many speculated which of the "big three" who left this summer we would miss the most, and the answer to that question is almost certainly Adam Federici - despite his one moment of infamy at Wembley, he was a class act for the rest of last season.

And for all the upheaval at the club over the last few weeks, results haven't picked up consistently... yet. A 3-1 victory at Brentford was a welcome boost going into the international break, but prior to that Reading fans have now sat through six games at the Madejski Stadium without seeing a goal from anyone in blue and white. The new names have certainly reinvigorated the fanbase, but results and performances are the acid test - everything can look good on paper, but on the park is where it matters.

The hallowed turf of the Madejski Stadium is one thing, but the Hogwood Park training pitch is another. Is the Royals' squad too big now? We've debated that on this website but there do seem to be a lot of attackers at Clarke's disposal now. And too many options can lead to problems. McCleary, Fosu, John, Hurtado, Piazon, Fernandez, Robson-Kanu, Vydra, Sa, Blackman, Cox, Stacey, Samuel... all vying for four places (assuming a 4-4-2 with two wingers, or a 4-2-3-1). Especially for the younger players hoping for a breakthrough, it looks tougher than ever to make a mark on the starting lineup now. A good problem to have though - if it's one at all.

Are you confident with Steve Clarke at the helm as we head forward into September and beyond? Vote below (5 is highest, 1 is lowest) and let us know your thoughts in the comments section. You can see the results of previous editions below, to guide you for your vote.