A good run of form?
With Reading's 3-1 away win against Sunderland on Saturday, the Royals have now gone unbeaten in their last four, scoring six in two wins on the bounce. It seems as though Jaap Stam's men are now finally in a good run of form after what was a lacklustre start to the season.
With Cardiff City, Ipswich Town, Burton Albion, Bristol City and Barnsley to come in December, some of those games should be winnable. With a settled, recently unchanged side and good momentum starting to build, Reading may be able to shoot up the table by the end of the Christmas period.
Sunderland down to 10
The red card for Callum McManaman was, undoubtedly, the turning point in the game; the 26-year-old booked early on for a foul on Modou Barrow and then given a second yellow for scoring with a deliberate handball. Had that not have been picked up by referee Keith Stroud, we could have seen a very different match at the Stadium of Light.
Not only would Sunderland have had their full compliment of players for the second half, but the goal McManaman scored would have counted, and the Royals would have been 1-0 down at halftime rather than buoyed by the prospect of 45 minutes against 10 men. However, McManaman’s sending off meant Reading dominated the second half, scoring three good goals and moving up to 14th in the table.
Modou Barrow's second half brace took the Gambian's total to five goals for the season and that, coupled with his 5 assists, makes him an important part of this Reading side. The 25-year-old winger only netted twice during his three year stint with Swansea and there were worries when he first came to the Madejski that he would simply not get enough goals.
However, this has proved not to be the case with Barrow overtaking Liam Kelly as Reading's top scorer and his good form in front of goal, coupled with his explosive pace, makes him a dangerous weapon for Jaap Stam.
Better away form!
Reading typically have better home form than away form, as was shown last year when the Royals only lost twice at the Madejski Stadium all year, but 11 times on the road. However, recently Reading have been getting better results away than they have been at home, scoring nine goals and collecting seven points in their last three away fixtures - compared to just three goals and four points in their last three home fixtures.
When asked about his side's impressive scoring record away from home, Jaap Stam said:
"We're creating opportunities which we've been doing in previous games but we still need to finish them. We've had games in the past where we created chances but not scored. But now we are getting the opportunities and scoring some very good goals. Hopefully we can keep it up."
With Reading naming an unchanged side for the third game on the bounce, that meant Yann Kermorgant started his third game in just eight days - no mean feat for a 36-year-old on his way back from injury. When the Frenchman initially returned, he played in the Saturday fixture against Wolves, but was rested for the midweek clash against Bolton just three days later in a clear indication that he was not yet back to full fitness.
However, having just three and four day gaps between the three latest games he has played is a clear sign that Yann is close to full fitness. Every Reading fan knows that if he can be the Yann of last season then he will be a very valuable asset for Reading in a busy Christmas period as well as the rest of the season.