A quick bit of housekeeping before we do our player of the season vote: we’ve got one more player of the month award to give out. This time we’ve bundled together April and May into one, seeing as there were only two matches in May.
This period takes in all of Reading’s matches since the international break, and by all accounts it was a disappointing set of games. Reading managed just one win, a 3-1 victory over Derby County, in addition to five draws (Barnsley, Cardiff City, Luton Town, Swansea City and Huddersfield Town) and two defeats (Watford and Norwich City). 8 points from 24 available simply wasn’t close to being good enough to sealing a play-off spot.
That poor form is reflected in our player ratings. For the first time this season, no player in Reading’s squad averaged more than 6/10 across those eight matches. Because of that, coming up with a shortlist for this vote was a little tricky, but we’ve whittled it down to five candidates.
Average rating: 6 / Man of the match awards: 2nd (Watford A), 1st (Cardiff City H), 1st (Luton Town H)
In Michael Morrison’s enforced absence, Holmes has finally been able to consistently feature in his preferred centre half position, and April/May was an impressively consistent month for him.
Having put in good shifts against Derby County and Watford, Holmes took our MOTM awards in disappointing draws against Cardiff and Luton. He’s since partnered Liam Moore, Lewis Gibson and Andy Yiadom at the back, and with the exception of a poor afternoon at Carrow Road, looked assured each week. He even popped up with a flick-header assist for Joao in the 3-1 win over Derby.
Average rating: 5.75 / Man of the match awards: 2nd (Cardiff City H), 3rd (Swansea City H), 2nd (Huddersfield Town H)
Given how Reading struggled for goals in April and May, only scoring 10 in 8 matches, Meite’s form deserves some praise. His return of three goals in this period was better than anyone else in the squad.
He managed a last-gap equaliser against Cardiff City, the opening goal against Swansea City and a frankly outrageous header to put Reading 2-1 up against Huddersfield Town. Coming up with the goods when those around him aren’t is classic Meite.
Average rating: 5.88 / Man of the match awards: 1st (Watford A), 1st (Huddersfield Town H)
Three goals for Meite, but four goal involvements for Michael Olise. The youngster scored twice from the spot - once against Derby and once against Huddersfield, and provided assists for Josh Laurent and Meite to head home in the final two matches of the season.
It’s commendable that, despite Reading’s drop-off, Olise still impressed. You wouldn’t have been surprised if the youngster’s game had gone off the boil ahead of a potential summer move, but that wasn’t the case. A confident display in the loss at Watford was another one of his highlights.
Average rating: 6 / Man of the match awards: 1st (Derby County H), 3rd (Luton Town A), 1st (Norwich City A)
This period ended on a downbeat note for Rafael, who was replaced by Luke Southwood for the final match, but he’d still enjoyed a decent April and May. Getting just one clean sheet in eight matches doesn’t look all that impressive, but I’ve included him on the shortlist for his two MOTM awards, meaning he’s tied with Holmes and Olise.
The first of those came in the 3-1 win over Derby, when he pulled off a number of impressive stops. He followed that up with a good display at Carrow Road - although Reading conceded four that day, he did keep the scoring down with some fine stops.
Vote for your POTM
Those are your candidates, but which of them stood out to you the most in April and May? Vote for your choice in the poll just below. If it doesn’t display on your device, please use this link.