January was a slightly strange month for Reading. They played a total of nine games, but against just six different teams - twice facing Blackpool, Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City.
Results weren’t ideal, with only one win in eight games since the sensational 2-1 win away to Fulham on New Year’s Day. There’s been just two defeats in that time though (against Millwall and Bristol City) as the Royals have proved that they will very much be mid-table fodder in the Championship this season.
It’s now time to choose your Player of the Month, and for the first time this season the winner won’t be Ovie Ejaria or John Swift. *spoiler alert* neither of them are nominated.
The shortlist in alphabetical order...
Average rating: 6.20 / Man of the Match awards: 1st (Cardiff H), 2nd (Millwall A)
Not quite as impressive as he was in December, but Charlie Adam continues to play a much bigger role than most fans expected him to this season. He brings experience and composure to the midfield, whilst his passing range is one of the best in the team. New Year’s Day saw him net his first Royals goal as he finished off a neat team move against Fulham.
Average rating: 6.33 / Man of the Match awards: 2nd (Cardiff A)
I’m tempted to say that this is currently one of Gunter’s best periods in a Reading shirt. Andy Yiadom may well take the right-back spot off him when he returns from injury in a few weeks’ time, but the Welshman has certainly giving Mark Bowen food for thought. Gunter showed throughout January that he is arguably better defensively than Yiadom, and even put in an impressive attacking performance as a wing-back away to Cardiff.
Average rating: 6.50 / Man of the Match awards: 2nd (Bristol City H), 3rd (Millwall A)
Morrison is forming a really strong partnership with Liam Moore in the centre of defence, with the pair proving difficult to break down by opposition attackers. In January, Morrison dealt with Aleksandar Mitrovic and Lewis Grabban, both high up in the Championship scoring charts, with relative ease. His aerial prowess is a particular strength, and he’s getting better with the ball at his feet too.
Average rating: 7.17 / Man of the Match awards: 1st (Millwall A), 1st (Bristol City H), 1st (Cardiff A), 2nd (Nottingham Forest H), 2nd (Nottingham Forest A)
After an unconvincing start to life at Reading, Pele has become one of the team’s most important players in recent weeks, and he comfortably recorded January’s highest average rating. He acts as an influential shield in front of the defence, consistently winning the ball back and distributing it with ease. The Royals would certainly miss Pele’s presence in the midfield if he wasn’t there, shown by how Millwall took charge of the game after he was subbed off at The Den.
So those are the four candidates, but which of them impressed you the most over the course of January? 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.