The latest addition of the Vital Reading blog.
It`s been a long two weeks since the Royals last game against Leeds, a 0-0 draw, after last Saturdays postponed game away at Sheffield United. After four draws on the spin we will be looking to get back to winning ways and start climbing the table again. Of course there are a few team selection issues for Brian McDermott to resolve but it seems likely that Alex Pearce will keep his place and Jimmy Kebe will return on the wing.
There is no doubt we have missed the Malian winger and when you consider he has been missing for more than a month, perhaps it is credit to the rest of the squad that we still sit in the hunt for a play off place. Saying that it will still be great to see him back and I am hoping it will be for the expense of Simon Church who has not played particularly well for a long time now. He is also never a winger, so Kebe will make a difference.
There has not been a lot happening recently at the Madejski Stadium so a good a time as any to reflect on the youth teams defeat at Blackburn on Thursday night. Whilst it was a defeat and we fell at the first hurdle in the FA Youth cup, it was some fantastic experience for the young pros who took last season`s semi finalist to extra time, and deserved to win.
I remember 10 or so years ago, going to a youth cup game against Manchester United at the Mad Stad and seeing a similarly narrow and undeserved defeat but looking back on that squad what happened to them? Not a lot is the answer, and we were playing at a much lower level then meaning it should have been easier for players to make the breakthrough, theoretically.
Now however, we have Jordan Obita who has already made his first team debut as well as the likes of Lawson D`Ath who are already on the fringes of the first team in cup games, as well as reserve regulars. Its promising for the future and good to see that the likes of Sigurdsson, Church and Karacan are not ones offs. I seriously feel we could have an academy producing some top players on a regular basis that is right up there with the likes of Man City. Perhaps next year we could get an easier draw in this competition and our academy can get the credit it deserves in the national game.
Finally just a prediction for this weekend and I fancy a Royals win. However don`t be surprised if we take a first half lead, only to lose 2-1, we are playing Coventry at home after all. In fact if you`re a betting man (or lady) then get some cash on Reading HT Coventry FT!