Reading will struggle to survive

A degree of sympathy must be shown towards Reading. Following their impressive Championship campaign, securing top spot to pick up the trophy, many believed that with the right investment the Royals could retain their Premier League status come May.

It was never going to be easy – the transition from England’s second tier to top is unequivocally difficult and regularly teams succumb to relegation at the first time of asking, regardless of the talent running through the squad.

However, defeat to fellow relegation fodder Aston Villa on Saturday leaves Reading four points from safety and with Manchester United and Arsenal to play next, it doesn’t look at all easy for Brian McDermott’s side.

With Queen’s Park Rangers beginning to pick up a head of steam, two wins from their last two against Southampton and Sunderland, and the R’s up against Villa next weekend, the Royals will be hoping the pairing can draw with one another as a win for either wouldn’t boost their chances of survival.

Yet, even if the result next weekend between Villa and QPR swings in the favour of Reading, they remain one of the favourites to return to the Championship. The players at the disposal to McDermott aren’t that of Premier League standard and it showed against the Villains on Saturday and with each passing week, it appears as though the Royals are showing increased signs that relegation is the most likely outcome once May rolls around.