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The Royal State Of Affairs: Forwards

Ah it seems only yesterday we were talking of Adam Federici and Chris Gunter but now we've made it to the business end of the pitch as we look at how Reading FC's forward department is looking heading into the summer.

Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

What we've lost

Aside from selling Adam Le Fondre to pay off a tax bill last summer, Reading's forward options remain largely the same heading into this summer as last. Loanee Glenn Murray spent four-months with the club before being recalled by Crystal Palace, while Yakubu was released after an under-whelming short-term stint in Berkshire. Another Palace loanee Kwesi Appiah was largely anonymous but did show a glimpse of his talent with a well taken goal at Derby on the final day.

What we've got now

The aforementioned Pogrebnyak and Simon Cox are the two recognised strikers on the books right now, though Cox found game time (and goals) hard to come by after Clarke was appointed in December. Young forward Dominic Samuel showed he can score goals at senior level with a good loan spell at Coventry before injury wrecked the end of his season. Following in Samuel's footsteps from the Reading Academy are Andrija Novakovich and Harry Cardwell, with the former held out of this summer's U20's World Cup in order to ensure he's fully fit for the new season with Reading. Hal Robson-Kanu and Nick Blackman have both been used in a more advanced role but a haul of just four league goals between them (two from the spot) is why I've covered them in the wingers section.

What we need

Strikers... and a fair few of them. Both Pogrebnyak and Cox have shown they can be effective in the right system but neither managed to break double figures last year with eight from Cox and just six from the big Russian. Samuel has shown plenty of promise out on loan but the reluctance of both Clarke and Adkins to use him still hints that there may be question marks regarding the young forward while we've just not seen enough of Novakovich of Cardwell to be sure of their ability to make an impact right now.

Clarke told the media at the end of last season that he wanted two strikers in and that should be considered a minimum if the club wants to compete at the right end of the table. 18 goals between Pog, Cox, HRK & Blackman just isn't going to cut it this year and we desperately need another Murray type who can be counted on to score goals. Likewise a pacey forward that can really trouble and tire an opposition defence in the Long/Forster style would be very much welcome. Sadly those types of players don't come cheap and it might be a case of one permanent signing and then using the loan market to plug the gap until Pog's wages come off the books next summer.

Priority rating this Summer?

Very High