With the Football League kick-off this weekend, this series of articles takes a closer look at the 24 teams vying for the £100 million Premier League bonanza.
It’s been a summer dominated by off-field issues at the Madejski Stadium and some concerns about the club’s future. However, the imminent takeover by a ThaI-based consortium will be a relief and should bring some stability to the club.
For manager Nigel Adkins, the direct consequence has been that he has not been able to strengthen his squad until this week and has even had to swallow the departure of one key player.
The sale of Adam Le Fondre to Cardiff was one born of financial necessity rather than sound footballing logic, and the fact no replacement has been sought may be indicative of a lowering of expectations in Berkshire.
However, the signing of Simon Cox from Nottingham Forest this week should assuage fears about the loss of Le Fondre and Anton Ferdinand is also reportedly close to joining Adkins’ squad.
Last year Reading just missed out on the play-offs and, given the circumstances, Adkins will do well to replicate that with his current squad. Whatever happens this season will certainly be a test of Adkins’ managerial skills both on and off the field.
Last Season: 7th
Manager: Nigel Adkins
Transfers In*: Simon Cox (Nottingham Forest, undisclosed)
Transfers Out*: Adam Le Fondre (Cardiff, undisclosed), Daniel Carrico (Sevilla, undisclosed), Stuart Taylor (Leeds, free), Jobi McAnuff (Leyton Orient, free), Matt Partridge (Dagenham, free), Wayne Bridge (retired)
One To Watch: Jordan Obita (wing-back)
The England U21 international enjoyed a wonderful breakthrough season in 2013/14, culminating in him being named as Reading’s player of the season.
A winger converted to full-back/wing-back, Reading fans have come to enjoy the sight of Obita marauding down the left-hand flank.
His performances have already attracted Premier League interest, with Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers reportedly keen. A move now would certainly come too soon and Obita will look forward to another season of development and improvement in Reading’s first team.
It was Adkins who gave Luke Shaw his Southampton debut and if Obita can go on to have a similar impact at the Madejski Stadium, the Royals will not only enjoy an excellent player but also a potential bumper pay day in the future.
Selected Odds: Champions 18-1; Promotion 6-1; Relegation 20-1
Opening Fixtures: Wigan (A), Ipswich (H), Huddersfield (H)
*correct at the time of writing
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