Since the beginning of what’s been a tough season Brian McDermott has more often than not opted to play five across the middle and a lot of times in particularly when Danny Guthrie was absent I felt this left Reading with three central midfielders but none of which who could actually just keep the ball down and slow play down which at time during the first half of the season was all Mcdermotts men really needed. It hasn’t been for lacking of effort in the central midfield places as Tabb, Karacan and leigertwood have all been fighting for places all season however as much as Karacan and Tabbs ball winning and all round combativeness has left some class opposition frustrated so far this season it has felt like leigertwood has been relied on too much to anchor and be the spine of the midfield which he just doesn’t have the quality to do so.
An example would be when a brave Reading team went to the Etihad in December Reading played with Tabb, Karacan and leigertwood in the middle that day and in all fairness to the midfield trio they worked there socks off it just felt at times that day that Reading did not have anyone who could put there foot on the ball and bring it and give the back four a little bit of breathing space or even give progrebnyak a little bit of support which would have meant the Royals could have kept the star studded city front line out of there half for a while.
It has been a similar situation even when the royals have played with a four four two an away trip to Queens Park Rangers saw Central Defender Kaspars Gorkss give reading the lead just fifteen minutes in however in the second half when leigertwood started to tire and taraabt and graneiro found just enough space to make the reading side pay and in the end drop two points from a position that really should have led to a victory.
Since these results however Reading manager has welcomed back what seems like a far more settled Danny Guthrie into the side who has really made an instant impact and has really settled the midfield especially in the three two victory over West Brom which was a game were Guthries quality really stood out and he played a man of the match role in the heart of Readings Midfield that day. The other big inclusion is somewhat of a masterstroke by Brian Mcdermott. When Hope Akpan was signed from Crawley Reading fans were left waiting for there marquee signing and pondering just who he was many felt that this signing was a signing that was almost preparation for the championship however since his debut the former Crawley man has very few doubters left.
Akpans impact was immediate as he came off the bench with Super Sub Adam Le Fondre and assisted in both Alfies goals that rescued a heroic and vital point for Reading, Hope made his first start in the home victory over Sunderland in which he played alongside Mcanuff and Leigertwood in the centre of midfield needless to say akapans vision stood out his pass that led to the first goal was fantastic and the way he composed the midfield all game was exceptional he made the step up look easy, it really felt like he gave Reading something they have been missing all season