Q & A with Reading
The bottom three is not where Paulo Sousa had hoped his Leicester side would reside after three league matches, but with visitors Reading holding only two points of their own, the Foxes manager will be eyeing his first victory of the campaign.
We talk Reading with a willing Royal ahead of Saturday evening's tussle...
1. How do you feel about the start Reading have made so far?
I expected more to be honest. Two points from three games isn't exactly the shining form we ended last season in. We've scored in each game, but have made silly mistakes and not looked particularly cohesive. This needs to change, we need a win to get some confidence and push on.
2. What are the realistic aims for the Royals this campaign?
Realistically, we could make the playoffs, but this is of course dependant on producing a run of form. Early days yet, but top half is probably the least we'd expect.
3. Brian McDermott did a sterling job at the helm last year, is he still the man to take the club forward?
Brian McDermott is astute and to our taste. He knows the club and is popular with the fans. He's realistic, but can be tactically naive (Starting two defensive midfielders against Scunthorpe was a bad idea before the game kicked off).
4. There's been relatively little in the way of transfer activity at the Madejski this summer - is that a problem?
We ended last season with three loanees in our defence, of which only one (the ageing Andy Griffin) has been secured permanently. The rest of the team remains pretty much the same, which everybody is happy with.
New left back Marcus Williams isn't quite up to the same standard as Ryan Bertrand, but if the defence gel and the youngsters on the fringes push on, we could have a solid base to move forward into the future with.
Nobody is particularly unhappy, given the flavour of football on offer in 2010 so far, but murmurings have been made of Madejski's lack of willingness to take Zurab Kishanishvili on board.
5. So there's nobody you've been particularly upset to lose?
As said, the loanees were the main crux of the team, and failing to retain them was the biggest issue of the summer. Realistically, Bertrand was never going to sign for us. Gregorz Rasiak left last week, nobody really noticed. I can't remember any other permanent players leaving, that probably says the most.
6. Are there any tactical bugbears that are frustrating you at the moment?
Tactically, McDermott can be creative, which isn't always to the team's benefit. We need to let the defence gel and not disrupt them from gaining match experience together.
The midfield gets tinkered with a little bit too much, but we need to find the best pairing before we let them settle. McDermott isn't the tactical Kamikaze that Rodgers was. Nor is he Jose Mourinho, but we're happy with the in-between.
7. Who should we be looking out for from the Reading ranks on Saturday?
Jimmy Kebe and Jobi MacAnuff will have a good go at you from the wings, and Gyfi Sigurdsson is a dead ball specialist.
8. And who needs the boot from the squad?
Nobody is outrageously bad, but Brynjar Gunnarsson can't really last a full 90 minutes any more. He'd probably be the weak link in a not alltogether too tough chain.
9. We've had a poor start ourselves - but are we still a daunting prospect?
You're not a bad side, and neither are we. Three games doesn't tell the same story the season will, so let's just view it as another game to get through.
10. And finally, a match prediction?
Given our start, I'm reluctant to say I'd be happy with a draw. As such I think we can push on and nick the three points, but it depends which Leicester City turn up.
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