Reading extended their winless run to eight games in all competitions with a goalless draw against Hull. The Tigers had the better of the possession and had a goal rightfully ruled out when Jon Toral kicked the ball out of Vito Mannone’s hands into the back of the net. However, Hull could won have it thanks to Jarrod Bowen’s effort, but it was straight at Vito Mannone.
Down at the other end Reading could also have won it thanks to Liam Moore, but the Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor made a fantastic double save to deny him, when the defender was left unmarked in the box.
In the end, both sides had to settle for a point.
Omar Richards should be getting a run in the first team
If there is anything positive to come from the match then it is Omar Richards. The left back has made giant steps since being promoted to the first team. This season, Richards has started two games in the league and in both of those he’s been arguably one of the better players on the pitch. Who can forget that display against Derby in his full league debut, where he had a fantastic day?
He offers pace when going forward and tracks back well. However, he still has a lot to learn from a defensive point of view with the defender being just 19 years old.
But there’s something about him that I like and I think the time has come where Richards should be getting more game time and should certainly be starting ahead of Tyler Blackett.
Jaap Stam is to blame, not the players
Once again it was another boring and dull performance from Reading. However some people have blamed the players for the current predicament. For me, it's not the players fault, it’s Jaap Stam and his useless tactics. Teams have now worked out how to play against us. Look at the Burton Albion defeat at the Madjeski as a prime example, where the Brewers got men behind the ball, scored two goals and won the three points.
Secondly, when you spend the highest amount of money the club has ever had in a transfer window you expect the team to perform better. Sone Aluko has performed average so far, but that's not his fault. It’s Stam’s for not being able to work out where his best position is and that is bad management.
At the end of the day, Stam decides how the team plays and if he can’t get them playing how he wants them to then it’s his fault.
Injury crisis strikes again
It was another bad day as far as injuries go with John Swift and Paul McShane being substituted after just half an hour. When will these injures stop? It’s very worrying that players such as Swift are so prone to injury and the physios don't know the cause of it.
Stam on Swift injury: "We save him from full training sessions and he went to hospital but they couldn't find anything. Is it because of travelling, being a long time on the coach, sitting still? It can be a possibility but it's difficult to pick out what's wrong" #readingfc pic.twitter.com/6jLtzKjuzB— Reading FC News (@getreadingfc) January 13, 2018
Secondly, Swift is Reading’s main creative player, so to have him out is terrible news. With Reading unlikely to spend any money in the transfer window, these injures have come at the worst possible time and could cost us come the end of the season.
Garath McCleary and Joey van den Berg need dropping ASAP
Two players that performed not to the highest of standards were Garath McCleary and Joey Van Den Berg. McCleary looks a shadow of his former self - he can’t beat his man and he doesn’t provide any width whatsoever.
That’s a far cry from the man who last season scored nine goals and got 10 assists. It’s baffling how Adrian Popa, the man banging in goals for the Under 23’s can’t get anywhere near the first team.
As for Joey van den Berg, he keeps giving the ball away. I’ve lost count how many times he’s lost it in recent matches. This allows the opposition to break in numbers and give chances away for the opposition to create.
Jaap Stam should seriously consider dropping these players and give the likes of Adrian Popa a chance to prove himself to the management.
Reading are in a relegation battle
No win in eight, no goal scored in 292 minutes of football and only five points above the relegation zone means Reading are very much in a battle to avoid the drop. The results in recent weeks against Burton Albion, Birmingham, Barnsley and Hull have been shocking. How Stam has not received his P45 is beyond me.
It gets worse and worse every week, the team now doesn’t look like scoring even against a League Two team which is very worrying and depressing. It’s amazing how the Royals have gone from being a penalty away from playing in the Premier League to now fighting to avoid relegation to League One.
Whether Stam likes it or not, Reading are in a battle to avoid the drop. The sooner he realises this and admits this the better. The management and the board need to take responsibility, before the situation gets worse.