Things We Are Sort Of Guessing: Reading (H)

Reading are the visitors to what will be a chilly nFCR on Saturday. Hopefully they will meet the full force of Grant ‘The Beast From The East’ Hanley, or will they get a right Royal welcome courtesy of our obliging home form? Who knows? We certainly don’t, but that’s not stopped us writing about it anyway.


Opposition Overview

Something is rotten in the state of Reading. Perhaps our 7 (that’s SEVEN) - 1 tonking of them last year, while they masqueraded as a play-off team, was a sign of things to come. They have won just once in the last 17 (that’s SEVEN-teen) games, and that was at lowly Burton at the back end of January.  In fact since the 4th November, which saw a good win against Derby, they have only had three victories; against relegation fodder Sunderland, Barnsley and Burton. It’s certainly not been a barrel of laughs for The Royle Family.

Their flirtation with promotion last season seemingly eons ago, they now sit 19th in the league, hovering just six points above that dreaded hash line. Talking of drugs, Jaap Stam has gone from last season’s wondrous hero to this season’s absolute zero. He likes a fall from grace, does Jaap. A Norwich win on Saturday could put the proverbial nail in his proverbial coffin, with many Reading fans calling for him to be sacked after the Norwich game, heading into the international break. Don’t hold your breath Royals. Given Reading’s utterly dire form of late, and inability to beat anyone other than teams even more terrible than them, this game is ripe for a bit of ‘along come Norwich’ and an exceptionally good away win, to save Stam for another day.

Reading the Reading fans’ forums has an air of familiarity about it; the ghost of Norwich (sort of) past. A once successful manager who no longer ‘has a clue’. A team capable of some good passing sequences but ruined by basic errors in defence and poor decisions in attack. A central defender described as ‘very weak, not sure what his best position is but is currently pretending to be a central defender’ (didn’t we have three of those?). A manager who never uses substitutes when the game and crowd are crying out for them, but takes off two central midfielders in the 60th minute when his team have just equalised and are playing well.

Particularly familiar to Norwich fans BF (Before Farke) was the cry from Reading fans that ‘we couldn’t win a game 1-0 to save our lives right now’. Never mind lads, 1-0 isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; it’s really rather dull. Not that our own 1-0 experts are capable of it right now, the last few games providing worrying glimpses back to that Norwich past. We need New Norwich back asap, although I won’t lie - I did take a certain amount of enjoyment from that 7 (SEVEN) goal thriller at The KCOM. MULTIPLE GOALS WERE SCORED.

The Royals arrive at Carrow Road off the back of a 3-0 loss at Champions Wolves (I’m refusing to believe that Colin W’s team could take that crown), with the game described as ’90 minutes of attack v defence’.

Well, fear not Reading fans, welcome to the ‘Help Yourself Arena’. The stage is yours. CT

Fun Fact

Reading’s nickname was originally the ‘Biscuitmen’. Sadly this was not because the players all fuelled up on HobNobs to give them pre match energy, nor because the club left some Garibaldis on the fans’ seats for them to use as a half-time snack or missiles, depending how the game was going. It was merely because biscuit making was one of the main trades in the town. Much like Norwich being the ‘Chocolatemen’ or “Mustardmen’. Too late now. CT

CT: Our season is over. I am despondent. Our TNT midfield has been defused and we have no Mo Missile in attack either. I can see Reading sneaking a painful win here, but will cling on to my last ounce of hope and pray that I am completely and utterly wrong and made to look a fool.

Clare Calculates: Neither team are very good at scoring. We see your 42 goals and raise you 38, Reading. It will probably be 4-4.

RJ: Saturday is going to be the day, I can feel it. The complete performance. Everything will click. Goals at one end and the return of the clean sheet. I feel sorry for those poor Berkshiremen as the mighty Norwich finally put Farke’s plans into practice and dominate a game from start to finish. Oh boy, I can hardly wait.

Rich Reckons: Reading and weep. Off with the Royals’ heads. Robespierres 1 - Louis XVIs 0.

ZW: Having had a lovely trip to Oakwell on Tuesday I actually feel fairly positive about our prospects on Saturday. The second half performance was good fun, attacking, and showed plenty of character in the face of so many injuries and illnesses. Hopefully Zimm has recovered fully now, although he disappeared straight off to the changing room after being taken off on Tuesday looking like he was going to vomit imminently. It’s not going to be 7-1 again, but I think a W is coming.

Zoë Assumes: Norwich City FC 2-1 Reading FC

SW: The USS Farke has lost all rocket fuel. The recovery pod won’t arrive for months. We’re floating in a deep, dark space. Nothing up, nothing down. It is the oblivion. It is the void. It is the Championship midtable.

With so little left to play for, and so few goals being scored, there’s not much to get excited about. Carrow Road might as well be alien territory because we ain’t no good on it are we? As the mutants from the Madjeski prepare their invasion, I am not all that hopeful. But if I wish upon a shooting star then maybe our star will shoot (and score?) (and win?)

Seb Foresees: AstroNodge 1-2 Madjeski Mutants