Reading may have returned to the top flight, but Brian McDermott isn’t resting on that rather dubious laurel. The Royals have been pretty active in the transfer market and nabbed a few players that could make the battle for survival go a lot smoother. The big name signing is Pavel Pogrebnyak. The Russian international isn’t cheap when it comes to wages, but they got him on a free and if he gets 15 goals this season it’ll be worth it. Nicky Shorey returns to the club where he made his name and although he probably won’t be as good as he was in first spell, he’s free, so it’s worth a shot. They actually paid money for Chris Gunter and Adrian Mariappa, so if they don’t deliver, McDermott will probably be more upset.
Something to be positive about
Brian McDermott seems to be building some solid foundations at the club. It was easily forgotten when they eventually won the title, but after six games of last season, Reading were second from bottom on four points and his job was in jeopardy. He responded incredibly well and that type of resilience will be required if their latest Premier League campaign doesn’t get off to the ideal start.
Something to be a bit worried about
For a team that won the league, Reading were a touch goal-shy. Last season, they scored 16 and 12 goals less than the other two promoted sides, Southampton and West Ham respectively. If you’re not finding the net a whole lot at Championship level, you’re going to find it even tougher when you make the step up. The signing of Pogrebnyak was clearly an attempt to remedy the situation, but there’s not guarantee it’ll work.
An optimistic season bet
They led the promoted trio into the Premier League and they’ve picked up some useful reinforcements since. The Royals have got a great chance of being Top Promoted team at 15/8.
A more realistic season bet
After a few years in the Championship, survival is the main aim in their first season back. They’re 4/7 to avoid relegation and that would do nicely for most fans.
Pierce Sweeney (Bray Wanderers, undisclosed)
Pavel Pogrebnyak (Fulham, free)
Danny Guthrie (Newcastle, free)
Garath McCleary (Nottingham Forest, free)
Nicky Shorey (West Brom, free)
Chris Gunter (Nottingham Forest, £2.5m)
Adrian Mariappa (Watford, £2.5m)
Packing Their Bags
Brian Howard (released)
Tomasz Cywka (released)
Andy Griffin (released)
Jack Mills (released)
Michail Antonio (Sheffield Wednesday, undisclosed)
Mathieu Manset (FC Sion, undisclosed)