January was a weird, dramatic time off the pitch for Reading, but on the pitch it wasn’t too bad. In the league, the Royals won two home games (Exeter City and Derby County), drew another (Leyton Orient) and were edged out 1-0 at Wigan Athletic. The main misstep was drawing 0-0 at Brighton & Hove Albion in the Pizza Cup before bowing out of the competition on penalties.
Performance-wise it was pretty good: three good but not brilliant performances and two poor ones. The overall average in our ratings (5.86/10) makes January the fourth-best month so far.
But which individual player stood out for you the most? We’ve got a three-man shortlist for January’s award, basically a trimmed-down version of the shortlist for December. That award was won by Femi Azeez, who also took the gong for November.
Average rating: 6.20 / Man of the match awards: 1st (Exeter City H), Joint 3rd (Wigan Athletic A), 3rd (Derby County H),
Azeez wasn’t quite on his November/December form in January, but this was still a good month for him. He started it off brilliantly with a long-range winner on New Year’s Day against Exeter City, before effectively setting up Paul Mukairu’s winner against Derby County when he hit the post.
He was generally bright throughout though, particularly in those three home games. Keeping hold of him on Deadline Day was a vital bit of business.
Average rating: 6.33 / Man of the match awards: 1st (Wigan Athletic A), 1st (Derby County H)
Holmes continued where he left off in December with another strong month of performances. In fact, his average rating is the highest of anyone in the squad for January and he comes away with the most MOTM awards, having stood out against Wigan and Derby.
Although he only registered one clean sheet, shutting out high-flying Derby County, Holmes helped limit Wigan Athletic and Leyton Orient to one each, a pretty good record overall. If he was unsettled at all by being sold to Luton Town before immediately returning on loan, he didn’t show it.
Average rating: 6.25 / Man of the match awards: 2nd (Exeter City H), 1st (Leyton Orient H)
Knibbs hit the back of the net two times in January, making him Reading’s top scorer for the month. Those goals were important openers against Exeter City and Leyton Orient, although he also forced an own goal by the Grecians when swinging in a dangerous left-wing cross.
Although Knibbs doesn’t really express himself in the final third like Lewis Wing or Femi Azeez, he’s still a consistent and important attacking performer. This was another month that showed that.
Who was your POTM for January? Vote below or through this link.