We’ve got one final player of the month award to dish out before we can get started on our player of the season. This time it’s a bumper one, covering both April and May.
In total, Reading played eight games under first Paul Ince and then interim gaffer Noel Hunt, failing to win at all. The Royals picked up draws against Bristol City, Birmingham City, Burnley, Luton Town and Wigan Athletic, in addition to losing on the road at Preston North End, Coventry City and Huddersfield Town.
There was quite the range of individual and team performances in that run. Reading managed one of their better displays all season to hold Burnley to a 0-0 draw in Hunt’s first game, but finished the campaign in familiarly dire fashion, losing 2-0 at Huddersfield Town.
So who impressed you the most? You’ve got a three-man shortlist below based on our player ratings, man-of-the-match awards and who I generally felt like including.
Average rating: 6.25 / Man of the match awards: 1st (Birmingham City H), 1st (Wigan Athletic H), 3rd (Huddersfield Town A)
My own player of the month, Casadei was a bright spark in April and May, having got up to the speed of the Championship really well. He particularly stood out against Birmingham City (setting up Lucas Joao to assist Andy Carroll) and Wigan Athletic.
Although his average rating (6.25) isn’t quite as high as Joe Lumley’s, Casadei was technically the most reliable player on this shortlist, not scoring lower than a 6/10 in any of his eight appearances. He completed all but one of those games, being withdrawn with just over 20 minutes to go on the final day.
Given that he may have been pigeon-holed as a lightweight luxury playmaker, Casadei’s actually shown himself to be a robust, composed and dependable option. He’s been required to fill in as a deeper midfielder in a 4-4-2 and higher up in a 4-2-3-1; while he’ll express himself a lot more in a better side, I’ve been impressed by himself nonetheless.
Average rating: 6.29 / Man of the match awards: 1st (Bristol City A), 2nd (Preston North End A), 2nd (Burnley H), 3rd (Luton Town H)
Lumley ended the season solidly and - although it’s somewhat a case of recency bias - has probably improved his chances of winning our player of the season award. He comes out of April/May with the highest average rating and was constantly in the running for a man-of-the-match award, being in the top three on four occasions.
While he made a critical error in the Luton Town game, he had a stand-out showing at the start of April. Some key saves against Bristol City helped Reading grab a 1-1 draw.
Average rating: 6.00 / Man of the match awards: 3rd (Burnley H), 1st (Luton Town H), 2nd (Coventry City A), 2nd (Huddersfield Town A)
Sarr had a similar time of it to Lumley: pretty solid on the whole, as well as being in the top three for a MOTM award on four out of eight occasions. Having been somewhat erratic earlier in the season, Sarr’s come on well recently and looks like a much more dependable player than he did. To do that in a back four, given he’s generally better suited to a back three, is commendable.
Who’s your April/May player of the month? Vote in the poll below or, if it doesn’t show up on your device, click this link.