As we look forward to Saturday’s game against Norwich, we caught up with the eds over at Vital Norwich for a quick chat.
As we look forward to Saturday’s game against Norwich, we caught up with the eds over at Vital Norwich for a quick chat. We ask about their recent dip in the form, their manager Neil Adams, which Reading player they secretly admire, among other topics.
1. You had a great start to the season, but have faded since – why do you think your early season form has taken a hit?
It’s a combination of several things. We were expected to do well, having held onto most of our squad from last season and added to it sensibly and we started very well. After that good start, teams started to play defensively against us and we couldn’t break them down. Teams would come to Carrow Road and literally put ten men behind the ball and then as we kept pushing they would catch us on the break. Since that time we have still struggled with this and I think we’ve only one win in the last nine.
2. What were your expectations before the season started? Do you still expect them to achieve them despite this shaky form?
I’m a realist and knew exactly what things would be like in the Championship. Anybody can beat anybody and its a much more competitive league than the Premiership. Neil Adams needs to manage better what on paper, is a fine squad. He needs to do that quickly.
3. Did you agree with the club appointing Neil Adams permanently over the summer? Did you see any improvement after Hughton was sacked?
The football is better and Neil always looks to win a game. Hughton was so defensive that after the ‘Lambert’ years it was something of a shock to see us lined up simply not to lose. Having said that, our attacking play has been poor to late and Lewis Grabban has gone off the boil.
4. How significant do you feel Mike Phelan coming in as first team coach is? Do you think it will do more good or harm for Neil Adams` future?
Tough one to call. Phelan is a very experienced coach and when he left Man Utd, suggested that his next job would be as a manager. There’s no doubt that his presence will be the elephant in the room for Neil Adams. If it all works out then great, if not, I can see Phelan being Adams’ replacement.
5. Which Norwich player(s) are really excelling so far this season?
Michael Turner has been very good this season and is probably at his level in the Championship, where things are a bit more hurly burly. Nathan Redmond is progressing nicely which has attracted a lot of interest with Liverpool being the latest to be linked. The return of Johnny Howson from injury is also timely, while Cameron Jerome for £2m was a steal.
6. If you could take any Reading player, who would it be and why?
I’d go for Chris Gunter, we were linked with him a few years ago and he’s done pretty well. Also, he’s a right back and we could do with another player there.
7. What starting XI and shape do you expect to see from Adams on Saturday?
That again is tough to call. Adams has been playing two strikers but often plays one of them on the wing in a 4-3-3 formation. Kyle Lafferty is not a winger. Bradley Johnson is suspended, so I hope he will play Josh Murphy on one flank and Redmond on the other. If it was me, I would go 4-4-2 with Jerome and Gary Hooper up front.
8. What is your prediction for the game?
I’m not confident we can beat you. Our form has been so poor lately that when teams from the lower half have come to Carrow Road we have struggled badly. Brighton and the 3-3 draw last week being a case in point. I’ll let my heart rule my head and say we’ll win 2-1.