Jobi McAnuff issues verdict on Reading FC’s survival hopes amid Barnsley, Peterborough, Derby County battle | OneFootball
Jobi McAnuff issues verdict on Reading FC’s survival hopes amid Barnsley, Peterborough, Derby County battle
Football League World
Former Reading captain Jobi McAnuff believes his old side have enough quality to remain afloat in the Championship season, speaking on the Sky Sports EFL Podcast.
These comments come after the Royals’ 2-1 loss at sixth-tier outfit Kidderminster Harriers last weekend, suffering one of the biggest FA Cup shocks of the third round and this result came after their late collapse against fellow relegation battlers Derby County.
Initially going 2-0 up through Junior Hoilett’s brace and retaining their two-goal margin until the 86th minute, late goals from Colin Kazim-Richards and Curtis Davies consigned the Berkshire club to a single point and has only gone on to keep them firmly in a relegation scrap.
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Going into tonight’s clash against automatic promotion contenders Fulham, Veljko Paunovic’s men currently sit just three points above the relegation zone and are currently in the midst of a terrible atmosphere surrounding the club.
Winless in their last four competitive games, their hopes of picking up more points are currently at an all-time low with the Cottagers coming up tonight and an in-form Middlesbrough side the opponents for the Royals at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
With Derby starting to pick up vital victories, Barnsley’s season potentially being kickstarted by their 5-4 victory over Barrow at the weekend, Peterborough United just three points away from them and Paunovic’s side restricted in what they can do in the transfer market, this has stoked fears of a potential drop down to League One.
Former skipper McAnuff believes they will escape the drop – but need to resolve the issue of losing leads like they did against Derby as a matter of urgency.
He said: “It’s difficult times at the moment. I still think they are going to have enough quality with the injuries when they get back.
“But, they need results very, very soon because they weren’t expected to be down where they were in the table – and once you are down there it can be very, very difficult to get out.
“They need to try to create some momentum and giving up leads is something that has become a bit of an issue for them – and it’s something that the manager needs to address very, very soon.”
Mental fragility has become a real issue at Reading and it’s been there for a number of years, so this isn’t just a Paunovic issue.
However, the Royals have sat back far too often and for far too long in some games, giving up leads against the likes of Queens Park Rangers, Blackpool and Derby this term despite previously being in command.
That’s why Fulham will have full confidence that they can come back tonight if they do fall behind at the Select Car Leasing Stadium – and as McAnuff said – it’s an issue they need to address quickly if they want to start climbing up the table.
But this is easier said than done considering the morale surrounding the club at this stage – and without major changes to their style of play on the pitch – they look set to remain in a relegation dogfight.
Dropping down into the third tier would be an unmitigated disaster, so the next few months will be crucial for the Royals.
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