Last but not least, it’s the strikers. We’ve already looked at the goalkeepers, full-backs, centre-backs, midfielders and wingers, so check those out if you’ve not done already. There’s also still time to grade the players so far in our squad-wide poll right here.
Below we’ve assessed how well the forwards’ seasons have gone so far. As we started this mini-series before the Wigan game, we’ll cancel out any appearances made at the DW - which applies to just Meite (who started) and McNulty (who came off the bench).
TTE average rating: 5.8
What an improvement from the young Ivorian! Meite has bounced back from two inconsistent years (one at Reading, the other on loan at Sochaux) to finally get regular minutes at the Mad Stad. Although he’s played on the wing, it’s up front where he’s impressed most, looking particularly dangerous in the air with his heading ability.
He’s still looked a little raw, particularly when he’s had little service, but his technique should improve further with match practice. The decision to hand him a four-year deal looked silly at the time, but could yet be some canny business.
Jon Dadi Bodvarsson
TTE average rating: 5.9
For a little while it was Bodvarsson, not Meite, making the headlines. However, an injury just before the home defeat to QPR has derailed his season, with the Icelander playing just twice since then.
His strike-rate stood at around one goal every 90 minutes before he was forced onto the sidelines, and he’ll be hoping to get back to that level when he returns to the first team. But this time he’ll have to displace Meite as Reading’s main man up top.
TTE average rating: 5.3
A summer signing from Brighton and Hove Albion, Baldock has been a constant presence in Paul Clement’s Reading, playing 14 times in the league and getting 1061 minutes in the side (the seventh best in the squad).
However, he’s not hit the heights yet, with only a handful of goals to his name. Baldock has also had to adjust to being shunted out to the left wing to accommodate Reading’s tendency to not play two up top. You’d think that, for him to show better form than he has, we’d have to see a change of system.
TTE average rating: 5.2
It just hasn’t happened for McNulty yet. The man brought in to provide the goals this season hasn’t hit the net yet, or even had much of a run in the first team. He’s stuck on two league starts for the campaign - Bolton Wanderers at home, West Bromwich Albion away - and needs more if he’s to open his account.
Otherwise, he’ll be stuck on the bench, but even when he’s been a substitute he’s typically not been trusted to come on and change the game.
Who else is there?
Danny Loader is the club’s hottest prospect at the moment, and made his league debut on Saturday at Wigan. He should stand a good chance of more first team appearances, whether up top or out wide. Ben House has also been talked up by Clement in the past and stands an outside chance of getting into the team.
Andrija Novakovich, on loan with Fortuna Sittard, has four goals in nine appearances but is currently injured. Sam Smith has struggled for starts and goals at Oxford United.