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Reading Loan Report: October 2018

How the Royals are getting on away from Berkshire.

Oxford United v Northampton Town - Checkatrade Trophy Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

We’re in the middle of the second international break of the season, so we’ve checked in with Reading’s players on loan around Europe. There are 11 to catch up on - a mixture of fringe players, youngsters getting their first taste of first team football and under-23s building up experience.

For each player, we’ve put their appearances and goals since the last loan report first, then their overall tally for the season in brackets. The players with nothing in brackets went out on loan after the last loan report, hence only one number.

Axel Andresson (Viking)

Played: 4 (5)

Goals: 1 (1)

Having made his debut against Levanger FK, Andresson has been an ever-present in Viking’s first team. The Icelander has played the full 90 minutes in every match since, scoring a crucial goal in a 2-1 win away to Notodden. That was followed by another victory against Sogndal, although Viking have since lost to Floro SK and Tromsdalen.

Nonetheless, Andresson is making waves in Norway, and was dubbed “the warrior Viking has missed” by Rogalands Avis - the club’s local newspaper - in late September. They praised not only his defensive commitment but also his ability to bring the ball out from the back and pick out his teammates on either flank with accurate passes.

Joey van den Berg (NEC)

Played: 3 (7)

Goals: 0 (1)

Joey is yet to taste defeat in the Netherlands after playing three more times in the league (twice as captain!) this season. After a 4-4 draw with PSV’s under-21s, NEC beat Helmond Sport before a 1-1 stalemate with Go Ahead Eagles.

However, van den Berg only played half an hour of that game before being subbed off, and missed the next two matches through a calf injury. NEC lost both matches 1-0, perhaps showing how important the midfielder had been for them.

Tennai Watson (AFC Wimbledon)

Played: 6 (12)

Goals: 0 (0)

The young right-back has shaken off an injury earlier in the season to become a key part of the Dons’ first team, starting all of their last six league games and registering an assist in the 3-2 loss at home to Scunthorpe United. However, it’s been a difficult spell for AFC Wimbledon in terms of form as they’ve won just three times in League One this season - although one was against Oxford. Nice one chaps.

Lewis Ward (Northampton Town)

Played: 1 (3)

Clean sheets: 0 (0)

Unfortunately for Ward, he’s featured for Northampton Town once since we last checked in with him. That outing came in the Checkatrade Trophy, a 2-1 away win against Oxford United. Nice one Lewis.

Otherwise he’s been the reserve ‘keeper for the Cobblers in the league, a role he’s played for 12 of their 13 League One matches. If we wants more experience he may have to rely on an injury to first choice goalie David Cornell or swapping Northampton for another club.

Sam Smith (Oxford United)

Played: 5 (14)

Goals: 0 (1)

Smith has mostly been confined to the bench this season and is yet to score a goal for Oxford in the league. He’s only started twice since the last loan report - a 2-1 home loss to Walsall in the league, and the same Checkatrade Trophy match in which Ward featured.

Andrija Novakovich (Fortuna Sittard)

Played: 4 (8)

Goals: 2 (4)

When we last checked in with the 22 year-old forward, he had scored two goals in four league games - a month or so later, and he’s done the exact same thing. However, his two strikes for the second block of the season came in the same game, a 4-4 thriller with Willem II in late September.

Novakovich is yet to miss a minute of league football for recently-promoted Fortuna this season, and he even put in an encouraging performance against the mighty Ajax - see the below thread of tweets for more.

Interestingly, Ged Roddy hinted to the media recently that Novakovich could be recalled to the first team at some point in the future. Read his full comments here.

Jokull Andresson (Hungerford Town)

Played: 1 (5)

Clean sheets: 0 (1)

It’s been a frustrating spell for the youngster who unfortunately picked up his second injury of the season. Having become concussed in a match against Hemel Hempstead in August, the same thing happened again - this time in a FA Cup game against Wantage Town. The tie was cancelled and played again, with Hungerford winning the eventual replay on penalties.

Luckily Andresson was fine, and said the following afterwards on Twitter:

“Hello everyone, I just wanted to thank every single one of you for the lovely messages I have received. I can tell you that I am fine and starting recovery now. I just wanted to thank everyone at @HungerfordTown and the royal Berkshire Hospital. I will come back stronger.”

In Andresson’s only full appearance since our last loan round-up, he took home the man of the match award for Hungerford’s 2-0 loss to Torquay United - much to the delight of his mum.

George Legg (Aldershot Town)

Played: 1 (2)

Clean sheets: 0 (0)

Having played once for the Shots before our last loan roundup, Legg got another run-out in a 3-0 defeat at Fylde. He then appeared on the bench three times before returning to Reading this month. However, with Luke Southwood still with the under-23s/main squad, Legg may have to go out on loan again if he wants regular game time.

Gabriel Osho (Aldershot Town)

Played: 2 (2)

Clean sheets: 1 (1)

Aldershot appear to have a ‘lose your Reading loanee, get another one free’ deal in place as they’ve recently brought in highly-rated defender Gabriel Osho. The 20 year-old has had an immediate impact, helping the Shots to back-to-back league wins. Having got his debut in a 3-0 victory at home to Halifax Town, he followed that up with a 2-1 triumph at Eastleigh in the Hampshire derby.

Ade Shokunbi (Billericay Town)

Played: 2

Goals: 1

Shokunbi headed on loan on the same day as Osho, but went to a lower level club in the form of National League South side Billericay Town. It’s been a good start to life in Essex for the midfielder who scored on his debut in a 9-1 (!) demolition of Whitehawk in the FA Cup before a 1-0 win at home to Gloucester City.

Danzell Gravenberch (KSV Roeselare)

Played: 3 (6)

Goals: 0 (0)

Gravenberch, used as a centre half this season, had been a regular starter at Reading’s sister club. The 24 year-old was on the bench for the opening two games, but started the following five, getting 90 minutes in the first four before being substituted half an hour into a 2-0 win over OH Leuven.

He didn’t feature at all against AFC Tubize at the end of September, but was given the first half of a 3-1 defeat to Lommel United. With KSV’s most recent fixture (a home game against Westerlo) suspended, Gravenberch had a week off.

My stand-out loanee: Axel Andresson

The Icelander seems to be doing well in Norway at the moment, and it’s encouraging to see his all-round game impressing at Viking. That mixture of defensive and technical ability makes centre backs stand out, and will hopefully stand Andresson in good stead when he returns to Reading in November.

For the time being, Viking sit third in the table, with only four games left to push into the top two to gain automatic promotion to the top flight. Otherwise they’ll be left with the lottery of the play-offs.

Beyond the end of his time in Norway, Andresson may very well go out on loan again this season, potentially putting him in line for promotion to the main squad should the contracts of both Paul McShane and John O’Shea expire next summer.

NB: Young goalie Adam Desbois is on loan at Hartley Wintney of the Southern League Premier South division but we don’t have enough info about his progress so far.