Stevenage v Reading FA Cup third-round - The inside track on Boro's opponents
PUBLISHED: 10:27 05 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:32 05 January 2018
Stevenage face Reading in the FA Cup third-round but what can Boro expect from the Royals?
Reading season ticket holder and sports journalist, Tom Lunn, gave CometSport the inside track on the Sky Bet Championship side ahead of the highly anticipated clash.
Hopes ahead of this season were high at the Madejski Stadium after Jaap Stam’s side reached the playoff final last campaign before suffering a heartbreaking loss to Huddersfield Town at Wembley.
However, things have not gone to plan as Tom explained.
“Compared to last season, it’s been bleak at Reading this campaign,” he said.
“Far too often we haven’t put a good run of results together and that has seen us slip down the table.
“We will always look to hold the ball and play around the back to patiently find openings in the channels or through the middle, usually leading to us having 60% possession most games.
“When that possession doesn’t turn into goals it can be very frustrating and that’s what has happened this season.
“There have been some games where the togetherness of the team seems to shine through but, most Reading fans are looking for a saviour in the January transfer window.
“I’ve seen a lot of talk about Jaap Stam leaving, which shouldn’t be happening given the plans for the future. “What he did last year to get us so close to the Premier League should not be overlooked either.”
Despite a poor first half to the campaign - which sees Reading sit 18th in the Championship - Saturday’s opponents have some dangerous player’s that Stevenage should keep a close eye on at the Lamex.
Tom told CometSport: “We have a promising network within youth football all the way up to our U23s, bringing through players like Liam Kelly who, if he returns from injury and is fully fit, is a passing maestro who can dictate play and even bag a few goals from central midfield too.
“If we do end up putting out a full strength squad, another player to watch out for would be Modou Barrow. The winger is our top scorer this season with seven goals and his incredible pace makes him very difficult to deal with for any defence.
“Our defence hasn’t exactly been ideal this season but time and time again when watching Reading play, Liam Moore has consistently been a stand out player.
“At centre-back he’s solid, wins headers, tackles and keeps the ball well within our possession style.
“Jaap Stam has previously commented on the run of games over the festive period so I hope to see some youngsters come through, given their potential. Danny Loader and Omar Richards being the two that spring to mind.”