Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughWill careful additions pay off for Reading? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Will careful additions pay off for Reading? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Will careful additions pay off for Reading?

There are a number of approaches used by clubs promoted to the Premier League to try to achieve the important goal of retaining top flight status.

One school of thought is that the players who got you into the position to get promoted in the first place should be given the chance to prove themselves in the next division and the confidence and momentum derived from a successful promotion campaign will continue on to the next season.

This approach is becoming less utilised as the TV deals get bigger and bigger and clubs go for broke to stay in the top division.

Another approach is to keep the basic spine of your successful team in place and add some extra personal to your squad in the form of one or two first team starters and then some added fringe players to improve the depth of the squad.

Swansea and Norwich last season very successfully took this approach and the results were clear.

The last theory is to go for broke and splash a lot of cash on big name players and hoping that they will gel and their quality will see you through.

Queens Park Rangers took this approach last season and it was justified, albeit in the tightest possible circumstances on THAT last day of the season.

This summer, despite probably having a similar financial might to that of QPR following a recent takeover, Reading have gone more down the Swansea and Norwich road.

The bulk of the squad remains in place and the style of play remains similar, based on the admittedly feeble premise of pre-season friendlies.

Experienced players at the highest level such as Nicky Shorey, Pavel Pogrebnyak and Danny Guthrie have been signed up alongside young Championship players with everything to prove like Gareth McCleary, Chris Gunter and Adrian Mariappa. Premier League experience is vital to dispense advice but equally as crucial is young players with a lot of potential and everything to prove.

The likes of Shorey, Pogrebnyak and Guthrie join fellow senior professionals such as Jason Roberts and Ian Harte to provide the former while McCleary, Gunter and Mariappa join Alex Pearce, Jem Karacan and Adam Le Fondre in the latter category.

The typical Reading style started by Alan Pardew and continued by Steve Coppell and Brian McDermott will continue as the focus of attacks and inspiration comes from the wingers and busy, pain-in-the-arse strikers augmented by an unchanging and stingy back five.

This style took the Premier League by storm in the 2006/07 season when the Royals finished 8th, but slumped the relegation the next season.

The widely accepted reason for this slump was a loss of motivation and desire from key individuals and perhaps this is the reason why the club have gone for a number of signings this time around to keep the squad base fresh.

Whilst they have made more signings than most of their rivals, cash has not been liberally splashed as three of the six signings have been snapped up on freebies which suggests McDermott is eager to attempt to keep team spirit high by not bringing in the big names which, given how the team spirit was the defining factor in their meteoric rise up the table last season, it is a crucial element to keep.

The most successful promoted teams in the last decade or so (Fulham, Stoke, Wigan and Blackburn and Bolton until last season) have been the ones that have best kept to their playing styles and slowly building on that year on year.

However, for every team that has done this successfully, there are others that have tried the same approach and failed spectacularly, including Reading themselves a few seasons ago.

What Reading have in their favour though is a manager in the mould of Tony Pulis at Stoke who knows his team’s game inside out, spends money wisely and has one of the better records in the transfer market.

It probably will not always be pretty, but much like last season where they were ruthlessly efficient in the final two thirds of the season, Reading should have enough about them to survive this season.   

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