Following a manic start to the season in July and August, Reading’s schedule was much calmer in September. The Royals took to the field just three times, owing to the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the international break.
It’s clear by now that this is an extremely Jekyll and Hyde team, with September seeing two hard fought wins against Stoke City (2-1) and Wigan Athletic (1-0) either side of an embarrassing 3-0 home defeat to newly-promoted Sunderland. Nonetheless, Reading sit third in the Championship table going into October and continue to defy all pre-season predictions.
In alphabetical order, your nominees for September’s Player of the Month are...
Average rating: 6.00 / Man of the match awards: 2nd (Sunderland H), 2nd (Wigan Athletic A)*
Nominated for the second month in a row, Hoilett continues to put in consistently reliable performances despite Reading’s form fluctuating. What has been most impressive about the Canadian is his versatility. He started September at left wing-back, proving surprisingly defensively solid, and ended it as one of the team’s most dangerous attacking threats on the right wing - via a brief spell upfront against Sunderland.
Average rating: 6.33 / Man of the match awards: 2nd (Stoke City H), 2nd (Wigan Athletic A)*
If we’re talking about versatility, then Hutchinson deserves a mention too. Naturally a centre-back, the 33-year-old played in the backline against Stoke and Sunderland but was then trusted to be a midfielder enforcer against Wigan and it was arguably his best performance of the month. After starting the season on the sidelines, Hutchinson has firmly cemented his place in this team and his experience and authoritative nature is vital.
Average rating: 6.33 / Man of the match awards: 1st (Stoke City H), 1st (Sunderland H), 1st (Wigan Athletic A)
Last month’s winner is likely to stand as the favourite for the award once again after topping our man of the match poll in all three games in September. Ince was the standout performer in the win over Stoke with his relentless hard work, the best of a bad bunch in the defeat to Sunderland and then won the game against Wigan with a perfectly dispatched free-kick in the second half. He has made a superb start to the season and long may it continue.
*Junior Hoilett and Sam Hutchinson received exactly the same percentage of votes in our man of the match poll at Wigan.
Who is your Player of the Month for September? Vote in the poll below or, if it doesn’t show up on your device, click this link.