After replacing Brian McDermott eight games ago, Nigel Adkins has already evaluated his side moving into the summer transfer window.
Finishing 19th in the Premier League last season, it was clear the current Reading side wasn’t anywhere near good enough to avoid relegation, especially with the tactics employed throughout the first three quarters of the season.
Adkins side are beginning to pass the football from the back, and attempt to keep possession of the ball, it is just the small matter of finding players to fit this philosophy within the current squad, and also in the transfer market this summer.
With myself being a die hard season ticket holder at the Madejski, I have evaluated the Royals class of 2013 which screams out ‘wholesale changes’ and I will begin my dissection of the squad beginning with the goalkeeping situation.
Reading’s current number 1 Alex McCarthy will hopefully stay at the Madejski Stadium next season, as he has yet to play a full season and if the vultures can be kept away after his recent England call up, I honestly believe he will stay for at least a year. This then leaves Adam Federici, who I think will move onto pastures new this summer, with a potential move to one of the promoted sides, or even a sideways step to join Brian McDermott at Leeds. Third choice stopper Stuart Taylor will remain at the club for another year I suspect.
In defence, the following players are to be released in the form of left backs Ian Harte, Nicky Shorey and centre half Alex Pearce. All three will move on free transfers with academy graduate Pearce set for a move to a Premier League side. Other notable exceptions such as Kaspars Gorkss and Shaun Cummings also look set to move on in the close season for minimal fees.
In midfield, after the recent loss of Brynar Gunnarsson, I expect Mikele Leigertwood to move in the close season after being left out of recent match squads, along with Jay Tabb, who looks set to join Birmingham City on a free transfer. Wingers such as Jobi McAnuff have been linked with Queens Park Rangers in recent days, and with Garath McCleary, Jimmy Kebe and Hal Robson-Kanu vying for two wing berths, I can see at least one moving on in the close season. Recent signings Daniel Carrico and Hope Akpan should be involved, and will compete for a central midfield role next season with Jem Karacan and Danny Guthrie.
Attack? What attack? And that is the question on the lips of all Reading fans with their whole forward line potentially moving on. Simon Church and Noel Hunt are both off on a free transfer, and it looks like Jason Roberts maybe as well after failing to recover from a hip injury over recent months. Conflicting stories have surfaced on the 35-year old’s future, and we await whether he will be a part of next seasons plans, although Radio Berkshire believe he has agreed a new one-year contract. I believe Adam Le Fondre will stay at least for another season, with his goals predominantly coming from the bench this season. Nick Blackman who joined the club in January will be part of the makeup of pre-season, and recently impressed with an assist at Upton Park. Otherwise as announced by Reading owner Anton Zingarevich yesterday, Russian International Pavel Pogrebnyak looks set to leave after his relegation release clause was trigged after the royals demotion to the Championship.
OUT: (15) (Excluding Youth)
Goalkeepers (Adam Federici)
Defenders (Ian Harte, Nicky Shorey, Alex Pearce, Shaun Cummings, Kaspars Gorkss)
Midfielders (Jobi McAnuff, Mikele Leigertwood, Jay Tabb, Jake Taylor)
Strikers (Simon Church, Noel Hunt, Pavel Pogrebnyak, Brett Williams, Karl Sheppard)
LEFT: (16) (Excluding Youth)
Goalkeepers (Alex McCarthy, Stuart Taylor)
Defenders (Stephen Kelly, Chris Gunter, Adrian Mariappa, Shaun Morrison)
Midfielders (Garath McCleary, Jimmy Kebe, Hal Robson-Kanu, Jem Karacan, Danny Guthrie, Daniel Carrico, Hope Akpan)
Strikers (Adam Le Fondre, Jason Roberts, Nick Blackman)