LIAM Hoden takes a look Rovers’ hosts this weekend, Reading.
“WE’RE not doing the basics of football well enough at the moment and, six games in, we have to move on very quickly and get it right in training.”
That was the verdict of Reading boss Brian McDermott following last week’s 2-0 defeat at home to fellow slow starters Watford.
The defeat was the Royals’ fifth straight in all competitions, leaving them second bottom of the early Championship table.
The dip in fortunes from defeat in last season’s thrilling Championship play off final to the current plight looks severe.
A side which scored three against Swansea at Wembley in May failed to register a single shot on target against Watford last weekend.
Royals supporters will likely point to the departures of 26 goal striker Shane Long and towering former Rovers centre half Matthew Mills this summer for more than £11m combined as damaging blows.
The revenue from the two big departures has not been substantially reinvested so far with just three inbound moves – Adam Le Fondre from Rotherham, ex-Rovers loanee Joe Mills from Southampton and Kaspars Gorkss from QPR.
Full back Mills was one of the few players to impress on his debut against Watford with his set piece delivery particularly eye-catching.
The rest of the defence verged on the shambolic while creativity was distinctly lacking with Le Fondre starved of service on his debut.
Pressure is mounting at the Madejski and defeat to winless Rovers on Saturday will turn up the heat on under-fire McDermott.
Last line-up: (4-4-2) Federici, Griffin, Pearce, Gorkss, Mills, Kebe, Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Le Fondre, Manset.
ONE TO WATCH: ADAM LE FONDRE
FOLLOWING in the footsteps of someone who has since gone on to score against Chelsea and Manchester United in the Premier League is hardly a simple task.
Proving you are capable of the carrying your lethal scoring ability from League Two up to the Championship might be even more difficult.
Yet the ability of former Rotherham man Adam Le Fondre suggests he just might be able to fill Shane Long’s boots at the Madejski Stadium.
The epitome of the title natural goalscorer, ‘Alfie’ passed the goal every other game standard with the Millers, prompting the Royals to part with £300,000 for his services last month.