Last time out, we looked at how well Reading’s goalkeepers have done so far - Vito Mannone, Sam Walker and Anssi Jaakkola. Now, we turn our attention to the club’s four full-backs: Andy Yiadom, Chris Gunter, Tyler Blackett and Omar Richards. As before, we’ve included our average player rating for each player and given them a separate mark for how well their season’s gone on the whole.
TTE average rating: 5.9
The Ghanaian has looked like an absolute steal so far. He came in from Barnsley on a free in the summer and has looked right at home for Reading, both at right-back and left-back. In fact, he’s the only man in the squad to have played every single minute of the Royals’ league campaign to this point, showing how important he’s been for Paul Clement.
Although his form has dipped a little in recent weeks, he still looks like going on to be the team’s first-choice right-back for quite some time, having displaced Chris Gunter in the team. His energy and attacking instincts have been a breath of fresh air, and they helped him to a TTE player of the month award in August.
TTE average rating: 5.3
The Welsh international, who levelled his county’s all-time appearances record on Friday, has had to get used to not playing that regularly. Yiadom’s previously-mentioned impressive form has shoved Gunter out of the first team, bar a few starts and cameos off the bench.
Gunter hasn’t done too badly when called upon, but hasn’t stood out either. Nonetheless, his rapid fall from first choice to second fiddle has put pressure on him to seriously improve if he wants to win back the manager’s favour.
TTE average rating: 5.5
Blackett looked like a spare part in the squad after an underwhelming 2017/18 campaign, but has bounced back well to stake a strong claim to be Reading’s main left-back. Although that’s been helped by Jordan Obita and Omar Richards’ injuries, plus Gunter’s unconvincing displays on the left, Blackett has made big improvements in his own right.
He looks much more comfortable defensively and generally less error-prone, although the attacking side of his game could use some work. That said, as he showed for Yakou Meite’s opener against Millwall, he’s capable of putting in a pinpoint cross.
TTE average rating: 5.3
It’s been a tough season for the youngster who’s had to deal with long-term injury. Richards got 90 minutes on the opening night against Derby County, another seven at Nottingham Forest and about an hour at home to Watford, but hasn’t played at all since. That’s hugely frustrating for a talented defender who would have been hoping to break into the first team this season. Here’s hoping he can return quickly and get back into contention.
Who else is there?
Jordan Obita is due back from long-term injury - hopefully - in the not-too-distant future, while Tennai Watson is on loan at AFC Wimbledon. Both will be hoping to be part of the club’s plans going into next season. Further down the pecking order, Teddy Howe and Ramarni Medford-Smith are ones for the future.