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Reading 1-0 Preston: Player Ratings

Ben rates the Royals after a valiant win against Preston.

Reading v Sheffield United - Sky Bet Championship

Vito Mannone: 7

Recovering from a midweek howler, the Italian had a solid game between the sticks. He didn’t need to make any acrobatic saves, but his handling was reliable and he managed the game well, legally wasting precious seconds whenever possible.

Chris Gunter: 6

A solid, even if uninspiring game. Captain once more in Paul McShane’s absence, Gunter played his part in rallying Reading’s monumental defensive effort and adapted adequately to his half-time switch of sides.

Tiago Ilori: 8

One of his best performances in the hoops. The once clumsy and error-prone centre-half looks a changed player under Paul Clement, getting the basics right, avoiding unnecessary risks and putting his body on the line.

Liam Moore: 8

My man of the match. Moore was outstanding - a defensive colossus at the back for the Royals and last-ditch saviour on numerous occasions. He won almost every aerial battle and commanded the deep defensive line expertly. His attitude and determination in adversity is exemplary and could underpin our survival push.

Omar Richards: 5

An opinion-splitting afternoon for Omar, who was possibly still suffering from a lingering injury. Some will focus on his eye-catching attacking endeavour, which was admittedly encouraging, but I was concerned by how often he was dispossessed high up the pitch and caught wildly out of position. He was sacrificed before half-time and will hope for another opportunity to showcase his undeniable promise to the new manager.

Liam Kelly: 5

The talented Irishman had a quiet game, sitting fairly deep and seeing little of the ball. Kelly was arguably perfectly suited to Jaap Stam’s highly technical possession-focused approach but it remains to be seen if he will be as effective under Clement.

Leandro Bacuna: 5

I actually thought Bacuna had a woeful first-half. He gave the ball away far too often, occasionally in dangerous positions, and a nasty challenge earned him an early booking. He made some telling contributions having switched to right-back and perhaps this is where we are most likely to see him for the remainder of the season.

John Swift: 5

Playing much deeper than usual in the second-half, Swift had little creative influence on the game. He worked hard and made very few errors but was perhaps lucky to remain on the pitch, after two cynical challenges in harmless areas. On another day, that could have proven costly.

Sone Aluko: 5

Aluko has been heavily criticised this season but looks to have restored some confidence under his new manager. He was still far too wasteful in possession but did offer the odd flash of brilliance, very nearly assisting Liam Moore for a second goal.

Modou Barrow: 6

Another crucial goal from Reading’s primary attacking threat. I didn’t feel that this was his best game; he saw relatively little of the ball and an early crunching challenge from Darnell Fisher seemed to rock his confidence. He is at his best when taking on full-backs and running in behind but has had little opportunity to do this recently.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson: 6

The Icelander displayed his usual effort and endeavour, harrowing opposition defenders and giving Reading an offensive outlet. He started brightly and his flick-header assisted Barrow’s goal. Later he faded, perhaps attributable to his recent injury lay-off.

Subs

Pelle Clement: 6

Reading’s half-time substitute injected new energy into the midfield and, for me, made a positive impact. He is beginning to adapt to the physicality of the league and could yet develop into a useful player. A neat turn to win a free-kick by the corner flag and a perfectly-timed slide tackle were his highlights.

Chris Martin: 4

I haven’t been overly impressed by Martin so far. His cameo was lethargic and ineffective. He didn’t energise a tiring team and, though feeding off scraps, he offered zero threat.

George Evans: N/A

Helped the Royals to see out the final minutes.

Average: 5.84

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