It was a perfect 10 for Reading on Wednesday evening as Jose Gomes’ side crushed Gibraltar United 10-0. The Royals were playing their first friendly of their pre-season break in Spain, and made a fantastic start, even if it was against weak opposition.
Danny Loader was the biggest winner from the match, scoring a hat-trick to show Gomes that he’s got his shooting boots laced on tightly ahead of the new campaign. There were also braces for Yakou Meite and Jordan Holsgrove, while Josh Barrett, Andrija Novakovich and Tom McInytre netted once each.
The game also allowed the manager to try out different line-ups - one in the first half, another in the second. As with how he chose to set up against Southend United at Hogwood Park last Saturday, the opening team was the youngest.
Reading (first half)
Andresson; Watson, Osho, Odimayo, Richards; East, Boadu, Olise, Holsgrove; Novakovich, Baldock
Reading (second half)
Walker; Howe, Moore, McIntyre, Blackett; Rinomhota, Swift; Barrow, Barrett, Meite; Loader
*NB: We’ve listed Denzeil Boadu in the first side, although the club has him down as ‘triallist’. It’s fairly obvious though that they’re referring to the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder.
Does this give any indication as to what Jose Gomes thinks his strongest side is?
Although Gomes will naturally still want to try different set-ups and combinations across the rest of pre-season, it does look as though he’s divided the squad into a younger team and another one that’s more established. That’s true in terms of experience pretty much all over the pitch, with the exception of Sam Baldock who was surprisingly asked to join the tour to Spain.
If this is Gomes’ working XI going forwards - at least until new signings come in - then it might suggest that Teddy Howe is ahead of Tennai Watson in the pecking order at right-back and Tom McIntyre is leading the race to partner Liam Moore at centre half.
That said, Jordan Holsgrove’s two goals haven’t done him any harm in his push to be part of the senior set-up next season. The young Scot is in the mould of a more technical midfielder which should stand him in good stead with Gomes.
Next up for Reading is a tough one: Sevilla on Saturday evening at 9pm.