clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Three Questions about Reading with the Tilehurst End

The Tilehurst End stops by to give us their perspective on this fixture.

Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

If you haven't make sure you stop by The Tilehurst End to read what former site manager Kristian Balkin had to say about this match.

Cottagers Confidential: Fulham and Reading have taken very different paths, but so far have ended up in almost the exact same position. How would you rate Readings season so far and what expectations do you have for the rest of the season?

The Tilehurst End: I'd say it's been up and down but really it's been the same brand of meh since late September, with our win over yourselves probably the high point of the campaign so far. Financial struggles over the previous 18 months meant that Adkins had barely any money nor time to build a team in his image and an almost unbelievable injury list also put paid to any hopes of building some momentum.

Ultimately Adkins would pay the price for a series of gutless displays as he just couldn't motivate the players he had at his disposal and a 6-1 thumping at Birmingham was deservedly the final straw.

Since then Steve Clarke has seemingly steadied the ship and fans are now cautiously optimistic we'll climb the table, though I doubt we'll trouble the play-off contenders

CC: It appears that Simon Cox is the player Fulham most need to worry about. What can you tell us about the kind of game he plays?

TTE: Cox is certainly a trier, though he's also capable of producing moments of magic from long-range. Sadly for the Reading Academy product he's never really found a position to call his own. He's not quite strong enough to lead the line, nor skillful enough to be a truly effective number 10. He's OK on the wings but again not an out-and-out winger.

As mentioned though, he's got a good shot on him and is decent with the ball at his feet. He's got a decent tally of goals so far and should break double digits for the first time in many years.

However I'm not convinced we'll see Cox on Saturday, with Clarke possibly opting to give Danny Guthrie a go behind Pavel Pogrebnyak.

CC: Steve Clarke has never really impressed me as a manager. His one successful stint at West Brom was built on the squad that Roy Hodgson had built and the loan of Romelu Lukaku. When he had to build things on his own, the squad really suffered. Do you feel that he's an upgrade over Nigel Adkins? How do you feel about the appointment?

TTE: Sadly things just never moved forward for Adkins and the club's performances were only ever going one way. As mentioned, the financial problems played a serious part in the inability of the team to progress but even so some of the performances were consistent with a team who had put 0 hours on the training ground all week.

Clarke's not had a chance to add to his squad yet so the long-term picture remains unclear but what is already apparent is his ability to organise a team and get them back to basics. We've immediately appeared a lot more solid, allbeit at the expense of creating chances.

He's also been a breath of fresh air on the media front, with his no nonsense approach very much welcome after years of PR and overly positive spiel spouted by the former Southampton manager.

Is it an upgrade? Time will tell but much like Brendan Rodgers ill-fated spell here, sometimes even a good manager can be the wrong fit at a football club.

CC: Predicted lineup and scoreline?

TTE: Score prediction: 2-1 Fulham Win

Lineup: Federici, Obita, Hector, Pearce, Gunter; Norwood, Williams, Robson-Kanu, Guthrie, McCleary, Pogrebnyak