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Blackpool [Preview]

[Hopeful] Prediction: 2-1

Reading are not on a good run, that's obvious to everyone. Winless in 6 with only four goals to show for it, and goalless in four of the games. Pressure is quite clearly on, with the early season done and dusted it's placed Reading 17th in a league that many fans would have expected to do better in, irrespective of injuries. Some selections have been peculiar, especially away at Brentford, but there's also been good teams - Derby, Bournemouth, and Sheffield Wednesday will all be pushing for, at least, the play-offs this year.

That's why the next three fixtures are crucial. A broken Blackpool travel to the Madejski in a game that should be a simple win for The Royals, but stranger things have happened. 1 away win in 22, The Tangerines were utterly dominated in a 5-1 thrashing in January that saw Adam Le Fondre bag his second hat-trick in as many home games. However the 'Opposition View' on The Tilehurst End seems to think that Pogrebnyak and Murray are built to be stopped by the visitors' defence, which is where Mackie, Cox, and - praying Adkins plays him - Blackman are all crucial. On a happier note the same article mentions their frailties in midfield, which is where Reading can often be overrun. Hopefully it'll give us a bit more time on the ball and allow Norwood to pick the passes he won player of the month for. That said, if defensive lapses continue happening then literally anything could happen. The defending has been comical, and Pearce needs to step up and lead the line even with Gunter as captain - that Morrison deal is looking less and less like good business.

After Blackpool we obviously have Blackburn (A) and Rotherham (H). The former is always a tricky place to go, and a battling point may help to turn around a slide down the table, with the latter being a game we should be winning - it's never nice to lose to promoted sides. It's slightly too early to call for Adkins' head yet - being only 9 points off the top of the table even sitting so far down it - and with players allegedly coming back in the next couple of weeks now is the perfect time to pick up some results and change the direction of the current.

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