Welcome to IntoTheTopCorner’s team-by-team preview to the new Barclays Premier League season. Here we look at Reading’s vital stats, their summer transfers and analyse their chances.
Manager: Brian McDermott.
Captain: Jobi McAnuff.
Stadium: Madejski Stadium (24,161).
Last season: Promoted as Championship winners.
Leading scorer (CH): Adam le Fondre (8).
Odds: Title 1500-1. Relegation 5-4.
In: Chris Gunter (£2.6m, Nottm Forest), Danny Guthrie (Free, Newcastle), Adrian Mariappa (£3.3m, Watford), Garath McCleary (Free, Nottingham Forest), Pavel Pogrebnyak (Free, Stuttgart), Nicky Shorey (Free, West Brom), Pierce Sweeney (Undisc., Bray Wanderers).
Out: Michail Antonio (Undisc., Sheff Wed), Cederic Baseya (Released), Harry Cooksley (Free, Aldershot), Tomasz Cywka (Free, Barnsley), Cameran Edwards (Released), Ethan Gage (Released), John Goddard (Released), Andy Griffin (Released), Brian Howard (Free, Torquay), Simon Locke (Released), Angus MacDonald (Loan, Wimbledon), Mathieu Manset (Undisc., Sion), Carl McHugh (Released), Jack Mill (Released), Joseph Mills (Loan, Burnley), David Murphy (Released), Garath McCleary (Released), Frankie Raymond (Released), Karl Sheppard (Loan, Accrington), Gozie Ugwu (Loan, Yeovil), Jacob Walcott (Released).
Key Man – Adam Federici
The Australian keeper has always been seen as a player with loads of potential and telent in him, but he proved his quality last season. Federici was ever-present last term, providing a reliable last line of defence throughout the promotion push. The 27-year-old shot-stopper helped the Royals keep a division-high 20 cleans sheets and he will have to do more of the same this season if the Royals have to stay in the Premier League.
18-Aug – Stoke (H)
22-Aug – Chelsea (A)
25-Aug – Sunderland (A)
16-Sep – Tottenham (H)
22-Sep – West Brom (A)
29-Sep – Newcastle (H)
Probable Formation (4-4-2): Federici; Gunter, Pearce, Mariappa, Shorey; McCleary, McAnuff, Leigertwood, Kebe; Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre.
Verdict: The Royals finished last season like a train to claim the nPower Championship crown, but Brian McDermott’s men will be set for a very difficult return to the top flight, which could just prove a step too far for them. The signing Pavel Pogrebnyak – who was outstanding for Fulham last season – for free is a good way to go about readying the team for the Premier League, but doubts still remain. Although Reading have a decent squad which has been improved by some quality signings in the summer and they play a decent brand of football, the smart money is on them to go back from where they came. I liked what they did last year, but they have no real stars and someone has to finish bottom. Reading look the most likely to .