Following a poor start to the season, September was the month in which Reading got back on track in the Championship, picking up 10 points out of a possible 15.
While they may have thrown away a 3-1 lead to draw 3-3 with Queens Park Rangers, the Royals then went on a three-match winning streak, beating Peterborough United, Fulham and Middlesbrough, before ending the month with a lacklustre 1-0 defeat to Derby County.
Off the pitch, news broke of a possible points deduction, but on the pitch plenty of players stepped up and we saw lots of quality on show as Veljko Paunovic’s side rose from 21st to 11th in the table. But who impressed you the most? Here are your four candidates (in alphabetical order) for September’s player of the month...
Average rating: 6.60 / Man of the match awards: 1st (Peterborough H), 2nd (QPR H)
Paunovic suggested that it would take Reading’s summer signings around a month to get up to speed and Dele-Bashiru is evidence of that as the Watford loanee really came into his own in September. He took the place of the injured Andy Rinomhota in Reading’s midfield but has played a more advanced role than the academy graduate - shown by his return of one assist and two goals, both scored in the win over Peterborough. The 22-year-old really improves the technical capacity of the midfield and should be a key player this season.
Average rating: 6.60 / Man of the match awards: 1st (Derby County A), 3rd (Fulham A)
Last year’s player of the season for his displays in midfield, it is Laurent’s seamless transition to centre-back that earns him this nomination. The 26-year-old first moved into the backline during the Fulham win due to Reading’s shortage of defenders and looked as if he had played there his whole life with a confident and commanding performance. Laurent then helped keep the team’s first clean sheet of the season against Middlesbrough before ending the month with the man of the match award against Derby.
Average rating: 7.25 / Man of the match awards: 2nd (Peterborough H), 2nd (Fulham A), 2nd (Derby County A), 3rd (Middlesbrough H)
Southwood was handed his chance in goal when it was revealed that Rafael had injured his hand in the aftermath of the QPR game, and the academy graduate has certainly taken the opportunity with both hands (no pun intended). For someone who had just one Championship appearance to his name before this season, Southwood has looked assured between the sticks with his presence at set-pieces, strong shot-stopping and vocal guidance of his defenders. The number one shirt is now surely his to lose.
Average rating: 7.20 / Man of the match awards: 1st (QPR H), 3rd (Peterborough H)
August’s player of the month continued his fabulous early season form with several more influential displays in September. Swift may have peaked with his first career hat-trick against QPR in the first game of the month, but he continued to be the heartbeat of Reading’s team with a stunning free-kick against Peterborough and three assists throughout the month. The defeat to Derby was only the second game this season where the midfielder didn’t register a goal contribution.
So those are the four candidates, but which of them impressed you the most over the course of September? 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.