Two months into the season and Reading are top of the Championship table - who would have thought it?
In October, the Royals won four out of six games - against Watford, Wycombe Wanderers, Rotherham United and Blackburn Rovers - to continue to defy the XG enthusiasts and annoy opposition fans. They also got a point away at Middlesbrough, while the unbeaten run finally came to an end in the last game of the month, as Coventry City beat the Royals 3-2.
It was a month in which the defence shone, keeping four clean sheets in six games. That’s reflected in our shortlist for our player of the month, which is decided upon the best average ratings across October of players who featured in at least four out of the six fixtures. In alphabetical order, the nominees are...
Average rating: 6.60 / Man of the match awards: 1st (Coventry A), 3rd (Wycombe H)
September’s winner is nominated again this time around simply because he just can’t stop scoring. Joao netted in four of the five games he played in in October to take his tally to nine for the season - only one off his best record for a season in England. His strikes against Wycombe, Blackburn and Coventry once again showcased his fantastic skill on the ball and clinical finishing ability - he is so much more than a target man.
Average rating: 7.17 / Man of the match awards: 1st (Middlesbrough A), 1st (Wycombe H), 2nd (Rotherham H)
This is the best we’ve seen Moore since his debut season under Jaap Stam and he’s responded well to the new management after losing his place in the side at the end of 2019-20. There were at least two occasions in October when the Royals skipper made a crucial goal-line block, epitomising his commitment to the team and defensive solidity. He even got an assist against Wycombe as his long ball up field played in Joao to score.
Average rating: 6.67 / Man of the match awards: None
There was a suggestion that Morrison might lose his place in the side when Lewis Gibson arrived on loan, but it’s testament to how well the former Birmingham man has performed that the youngster hasn’t even played a minute yet. Morrison’s partnership with Moore has blossomed into one of the best in the Championship and he continues to be a dominant presence in the backline, particularly in the air - his number of aerial duels won are consistently the highest in the team.
Average rating: 7.00 / Man of the match awards: 2nd (Coventry A), 3rd (Rotherham H)
The academy graduate’s excellent start to the season continued in October and he’s really made the left-back position his own after the departures of Jordan Obita and Tyler Blackett. Richards has always been a decent outlet for Reading going forward, but he has proved far more solid defensively under Paunovic. He reads the game expertly and is calm and composed in possession.
So those are the four candidates, but which of them impressed you the most over the course of October? You can vote for your choice in the poll below, or if it doesn’t show up on your device, go through this link here.