Written by: Adam Jones
My Ideal Reading FC Squad To Battle Championship Relegation
With Reading in deep relegation trouble, reinforcements have been recruited in last month’s January transfer window. All of these signings have been loans, however, these loanees are promising and have a point to prove at the Madejski Stadium. Here is my ideal Reading FC matchday squad to fight relegation:
GK – Emiliano Martinez
The on-loan Arsenal goalkeeper was recruited by Jose Gomes in the January transfer window to be his new number one between the sticks. Anssi Jaakkola, Vito Mannone and Sam Walker remain with the Royals, with Mannone being publicly transfer listed by the Royals. Gomes will be hoping Martinez will suit his passing philosophy more than the other three keepers mentioned.
LB – Omar Richards
The academy graduate should have the opportunity to grow as a full back throughout the rest of the season in my opinion. There was the argument that the Royals should have signed a left back in the last window to compensate for Jordan Obita’s long term injury. However, the enthusiasm of young Richards could be crucial in this season’s relegation battle.
CB – Liam Moore
The centre back has endured a very mixed three years at Reading. After a great first season in which he was part of the squad that reached the playoff final, his form has fluctuated. Last summer, Moore was the subject of multiple bids by Premier League outfit Brighton and Hove Albion. He will need to fulfil his Premier League potential if Reading are to survive the drop this season.
CB – Matt Miazga
The Chelsea centre back was loaned out a couple of times to Nantes and Vitesse, before his temporary move to the Madejski Stadium. The United States international’s large stature is needed at the back after Tiago Ilori’s departure to Sporting Lisbon. Hopefully, his ability will enable Reading to get themselves out of this Championship relegation scrap.
RB – Andy Yiadom
The former Barnsley right back is arguably the only successful signing that the Berkshire side made last summer. Yiadom was heavily linked to a move to the Premier League, with Swansea City and Huddersfield Town being interested in the full back in the summer of 2017, before a move to the latter broke down after failed negotiations. He will be hoping that he does not suffer back to back relegations after dropping down to League One with Barnsley at the end of last season.
CDM – Saeid Ezatolahi
This was a signing that came out of left field at the end of the summer transfer window in 2018. After suffering an injury which has kept him out for months, the Royals have not been able to utilise Ezatolahi to full effect. In the few games that the supporters have seen Iranian, they have been very impressed, myself included. Hopefully he recovers soon so we can have someone to control the midfield and protect the defence.
CDM – Andy Rinomhota
There is no doubt that Rinomhota has been the revelation of this season. It is only a matter of time before he attracts Premier League interest if he keeps up his rapid development at the same rate. His ability to read the play and to make darting runs has partially brightened up what has been a miserable season for Reading so far. He could be a crucial figure in helping the Royals survive.
CM – John Swift
The appointment of Jose Gomes could have been a crucial point in Swift’s career. It is no secret that John Swift suits a passing style of football as opposed to other footballing philosophies. His form in the 2016/17 was one of the reasons why Reading managed to reach the 2017 playoff final at Wembley. If Reading are to survive, his creativity and flair will most probably play a crucial part in it.
LW – Ovie Ejaria
Ejaria seems to have settled well in to the squad after his failed loan move to Steven Gerrard’s Rangers. The England youth international may lack the ability to beat players one on one as a winger. However, similarly to John Swift, his technique could play a vital part in the business end of this Championship season.
RW – Modou Barrow
The Gambian international has suffered a mixed time at Reading like Liam Moore has. His form under Jaap Stam in his first season as a Reading player helped the Berkshire side to survive last season. However, the appointment of Paul Clement last March seemed to have been a turning point in his Reading career. If he can replicate his form from last season under Stam, he could help the Royals survive once again. However, that is a big if.
ST – Nelson Oliveira
This is probably the signing I was most excited about during the January transfer window. The worst secret in football is the fact that Reading have desperately needed a prolific forward for a number of years. Reading may have just found that striker, despite Oliveira’s move only being temporary and until the end of the season. Hopefully, Reading will have an option to buy if the move works out for both parties. His penalty at Bolton Wanderers last Tuesday might be a good sign of things to come!
Substitutes: Anssi Jaakkola, Chris Gunter, Tyler Blackett, Liam Kelly, Sone Aluko, Garath McCleary, Yakou Meite
Jose Gomes seems to prefer Jaakkola over both Sam Walker and Vito Mannone. Chris Gunter and Tyler Blackett provide enough cover in the event of injuries and suspensions. Meanwhile, Liam Kelly stays as a home-grown player after failing to secure a loan move to Udinese.
Sone Aluko’s form has improved rapidly under Jose Gomes and is managing to get the Nigerian international to be a vital part of the team, something that Jaap Stam and Paul Clement could not do. Meanwhile, Garath McCleary has also put in solid performances after coming back from a long term ankle injury. Yakou Meite stays in the squad ahead of Jon Dadi Bodvarsson after impressing the Reading fans this season.
Whether all of these players can drag themselves out of this relegation battle remains to be seen…