Reading Up Next
Ahead of the Reading encounter this weekend I got in touch with our friends at Vital Reading, he's what Josh had to say.
1) Is the season going as you expected and what has been the highlight and lowlight so far?
In terms of going how I expected it to, probably yes. Some very ambitious fans thought after some financial backing over the summer, we could aim a bit higher than mid-table, but I disagree. The majority of Royals fans firmly believe we will be in a relegation battle this year, but not sure how we`re going to end up, with the likes of Southampton, Norwich and West Ham to be considered. The highlight has to be the last 20 minutes of the first half against Chelsea when we found ourselves 2-1 up at Stamford Bridge and played the best football I have seen us play in all my time of watching Reading. The lowlight has to be Sunday against Spurs, defensively, it was sickening to watch at times.
2) Are you pleased with the transfer dealings of the club?
Very pleased. The acquisitions of Pogrebnyak and Guthrie impressed me, they both, especially considering their experience in Europe and the Premier League respectively arrived on a free transfer. Garath McCleary also looks a very good buy on a free too, making the jump from obscurity in the Championship to the Premier League quite well. Gunter and Mariappa still undecided, having not seen a huge amount of both.
3) Where do you see your current weaknesses this season? Any clues for the game will be greatly appreciated :-)
As you may have witnessed on Sunday, defensively. We are certainly not the fastest back four you will ever see, but it certainly does not lack experience. They have already shipped eight goals in three games, so if Shane Long is on form on Saturday, I am definitely worrying.
4) Who will be your key dangerman?
As mentioned earlier, Garath McCleary looks a very exciting player. Very good feet and lightning pace, has been at the heart of the majority of our goals this season and could cause Ridgewell some problems on Saturday if he`s on his game. There`s a few rumours flying about that Jimmy Kebe could be back fit for this game too, so watch out for him if he makes an appearance-Usain Bolt`s Malian brother.
5) Anyone you desperately hope will join before the window closes?
Didn`t know the window wasn`t shut yet but will answer as if you said who would I want to sign in January. In January I would like to see some defensive reinforcements. Probably a left back, considering Harte is starting to look out of his depth and not sure if Shorey can cope week in, week out in a similar vein to Harte. I would always love to see Ryan Bertrand back at the Madejski Stadium, but can`t see it happening!
(that'll teach me to check my list before hitting send!)
6) Where do you see Albion finishing this season?
Around about mid-table. Can`t see you being in any sort of relegation dogfight the way you have started. As long as you keep up the form you have and beat the teams you should along the way, you Baggies will be fine I`m sure.
7) What do you think of the appointment of Steve Clarke to what is his first management job?
Like many West Brom fans, I thought it was a surprise appointment, but nonetheless a good one. Has worked as a number two the majority of his career, so its good to see him finally get his chance at management after being held in high regard by many managers by having him along side them.
8) If you could take one of our players, who would it be and why?
Shane Long please. I am a big fan of James Morrison and Chris Brunt`s left foot, but the form Shane was in with us was impeccable. Superb all round striker. Strength, pace, good aerial ability and decent finishing.
9) Who do you see as our main threat?
Probably the man mentioned above, but for something different, probably Lukaku. Watched him a few times when he played in Belgium and for his age, was different class.
10) What weaknesses in our team do you think you'll be looking to exploit?
I look at your back four and similarly to our, looks as if it lacks a bit of pace. Still some very big, towering defender in it, but if Le Fondre gets on the move during the game, he could definitely cause you problems as he did against Spurs when he came on.
11) Finally, a prediction please fellow football fan...
Will be a tough game. I`m going for a 1-1 draw.
With thanks to Josh!
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