Fulham continue their tough opening run of fixtures by returning to the scene of heartbreak from last season as they take on Reading FC at Madejski Stadium. Our friends over at The Tilehurst End stop by to discuss this match, Reading’s offseason, and predictions for the coming season.
Cottagers Confidential: What do you expect from Reading this season? What's a reason this year could be worse than last year? Better than last year?
The Tilehurst End: Right now it's hard to know what to expect, other than the unexpected. I don't expect it to be easy, nor am I thinking just because we came third last season we'll be up there again. We lost key players in Danny Williams and Ali Al-Habsi who've not been replaced with slam dunk better players so far, but Jaap has said often he wants to do more business before the window shuts.
The worst case scenario is last year is shown to be a freak season and we just meander in mid table.
The optimist in me says that when the treatment room clears out and we get a couple more in, we'll build momentum for another crack at the top six.
CC: Who are your picks to go up? Make the playoffs? Get relegated? Why?
TTE: Hard to look past Villa and Boro for the cash they've spent. I'm sure Derby, Hull, Fulham, Wolves, Sheff Weds and Sunderland will be there or there abouts but let's be honest, it's the Championship and I'm not sure how many predicted Reading, Fulham and Huddersfield to be in the top six last season. Brentford are my sleeper pick this year though.
Down the bottom and all three promoted teams are up against it, though Sheffield United seem to be on a good roll. Burton are another you'd think might be down there again.
CC: Which new player on Reading is going to be the most important this year? Who was your biggest loss?
TTE: I think our most important signing might not have been made yet. If he has been, then one of Jon Dadi Bodvarsson or Vito Mannone will have to have big years to step up for the injured Yann Kermorgant and departed Ali Al-Habsi respectively.
CC: Predicted score and lineup?
TTE: I'm going for 1-1. Our injury list is very fluid at the moment so picking a team is pure guess work but...
Mannone, Obita, Blackett, Moore, Ilori, Guntee, Evans, Swift, Kelly, Barrow, Bodvarsson.