We got the view on Reading FC's Boxing Day opponents Norwich City, from City fan & My Football Writer Editor, Gary Gowers
How would you sum up your season so far?
Four letter word, begins with S, ends in T. It promised so much, and the buggers fooled us all into thinking it was going to be fun by winning 4-1 away at Blackburn on opening day, but since then it's been undiluted misery and pain punctuated by the odd win against teams from the bottom half of the table. Yet, just when we'd all but thrown in the towel a few weeks ago they go and thump Brentford 5-0. As it transpires, Jossy's Giants could have probably thumped the Bees that day and it was just another false dawn in an autumn/winter that's been choc-a-block full of them. The club's a mess from top to bottom and it's by no means all the fault of Alex Neil; the board are just as culpable, and this goes back a few seasons, and the attitude and application of some players stinks.
Are fans still behind Alex Neil?
A handful maybe but the vast majority think it's time for Jez Moxey to pull the trigger. But, supported by Delia and the board, he won't. Instead we're bracing ourselves for a slow, gradual decline that will see the parachute payments dwindle away until we become poorly funded Championship also rans - like Ipswich Town. But, if Hell does freeze over and somehow Alex is replaced by someone who has the respect of the players, can motivate and who can organise, then perhaps we could yet scrape into the play-off places.
No, ignore that... I'm just dreaming.
Any good or bad memories of games against Reading?
Typically most of the memories are bad ones but our 1-0 win at the Madejski in April 2004 was a bit special as it was part of a run-in that saw us go up to the Premiership as champions. As it happens it wasn't a great City team but we did have one great player - Darren Huckerby - who took us up almost single-handedly. What made that win extra special was that Phil Mulryne (who's now a catholic priest by the way) scored the goal late on thanks to an assist from referee Neale Barry, who teed the ball up perfectly via his backside.
The worst memory of a bad bunch is the 2-0 defeat at Carrow Road in April 2009 when Shane Long's brace helped us on our way to League One. That was *really* painful. Still hurts to this day in fact. But we were really cr@p. For most of that season we'd had Glenn Roeder in charge.
Who should Reading be wary of on Boxing Day?
No-one really. I'd recommend your centre-backs turn up suitably attired in kimono robes, carpet slippers and cigars. But, on the off chance our players decide to put a shift in, there's a possibility that Jonny Howson could impress in the centre of midfield and either Cameron Jerome or Nelson Oliveira could give said centre-backs a problem or two. Oh, and Jacob Murphy is quick. And Wes Hoolahan or Alex Pritchard can be a handful on their day if they're picked, which they probably won't be. But, if I were you, I wouldn't worry too much.
Any Reading player that's impressed you?
I'm embarrassed to admit I know very little of your class of 2016, although I'm sure I'll know their names off by heart by 5pm, but I have heard of Garath McCleary (note: got the 'a' in Garath) who's a good player, and always impresses me. Jimmy Kébé's not still there is he? He always used to run riot against us.
Finally, give us a score prediction.
Head: Reading 2 Norwich 0 Heart: Reading 2 Norwich 1