Happy Friday one and all. This weekend sees the visit of Hull City to the Madejski, with Reading fresh from another shocking performance at home in the week against Norwich City. Four home defeats our of four, dwindling attendances, toxic atmospheres and murmurings of discontent getting louder and louder with every week that goes by. Without meaning to repeat my criticism of the club that I seem to be writing considerably more about than praise, times are very tough at the moment. Does I really fancy us getting a victory this weekend? I’m struggling to tell at the moment. On paper, you’d of thought this is a very winnable game. On grass however, the inept, slow, passive and disjointed players hardly fill me with any form of confidence.
As for our visitors, Hull have not had the best of starts either. Although they have picked up more victories than us – truthfully that is not a hard feat to achieve. Despite victories over fellow strugglers Ipswich and Rotherham away from home, inconstancy has run through this team. Having lost to Wigan in the week, the mood amongst supporters seems to replicate the mood in Berkshire at the moment. In truth, the only shred of positivity I have coming into this game is the fact that much like Preston last week this is a bit of an early season six pointer.
Hull have injuries worries coming into this game with promising young midfielder Dan Batty ruled out with a knee injury. Batty is likely to be replaced in the centre of the park by either Jackson Irvine or Kevin Stewart, next to Markus Henriksen. It is another young player however who I think has the potential to become the next Maddison by making the step up to the top tier. Jarrod Bowen was linked with a £12m move to Everton this summer and it has easy to see why. His pace, trickery and end product served him well last year as he broke through in a struggling Hull side. 2 goals so far this year, I’m certainly not looking forward to Chris Gunter inevitably being caught out multiple times in the 90 minutes by the youngster. Alongside these youngsters Hull do not have a bad squad at all, with experienced players such as Kamil Grosicki, Chris Martin, Evandro, David Marshall and Tommy Elphick all vying for starting spots this weekend. Having said that we don’t have a bad side on paper either. So based on our pathetic performances so far this season, that truthfully can count for very little.
The man in the dugout needs no introduction this week. Former Reading boss and all round bastion of posititvity Nigel Adkins will certainly be eager to get on over on us. Although he is arguably best known and regarded for his brilliant tenure at Southampton, I do think that he never showed his true capabilities at the Madejski. However since his departure, he took over Sheffield United and led them to their lowest league position since 1983 and has seen a win rate of just 28% in his current position. Arguably Adkins appears to be a manager who appears to be tailing off in his career. As I said he’ll be desperate to motivate the Tigers to retribution over his former employers this weekend.
Predictions time. I’m going for a defeat and a subsequent meltdown amongst supporters and players alike at the full time whistle. Why? Well, I’m usually wrong in these. So lets hope I continue that trend this week.