Date: 2nd January 2019 at 5:01pm
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As stated in yesterday’s post match report, January is going to be a massive month for the Royals in terms of any business they can do to bolster the squad and push for survival. In this article, I’m going to take a closer look at what needs to be done in January.

Clear out the Deadwood

After analysing the squad, it would appear we have thirty-two (32) players in and around the first team. That is way too many for a manager to: first of all keep happy, but secondly give enough game time to all of them. It is good to see that in the last few months a few of the Reading academy products have been introduced into the first team and putting in decent performances suggesting they are pulling their weight and adding value to the squad. As a result of this however, there are too many players on the fringes that can be moved on. The likes of Paul McShane, David Meyler, David Edwards, Pelle Clement and Sam Walker are just a few names that could be moved on this month.

Bring in Players the Manager Wants

This doesn’t necessarily mean bring in the whole Rio Ave squad that Gomes has just left behind. This means we need to trim the squad significantly and bring in players with quality, who may have experience in a relegation battle before but can primarily play the style that the manager wants to play. Bringing in quality without having to pay inflated prices in January is particularly hard. Clubs don’t really like to do business in January, especially involving top players. Until the wage bill has been reduced, it is likely that Gomes will have to make use of any free transfers or loan deals. Gomes did confirm in his post match press conference yesterday that the board are working on transfers, but did not confirm whether these are incomings or outgoings, so let’s hope it’s both.

We have some tough games coming up in January, that in our position, we aren’t expected to get much if anything from them. Gomes needs to use this time to work out who he wants in his squad, make any changes to personnel that he needs to, and focus on getting in good training sessions with the players and lifting their heads up. If we can put in good performances in January against bigger teams, this will give the players confidence to go on later in the season and pick up the results we need to stay in the Championship

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