Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Cherry Chimes talks to the Tilehurst End Blog

AFCB V Reading
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Blogger Interview - The Tilehurst End

Cherry Chimes had the opportunity to quiz the The Tilehurst End about the Royals push for the play-offs and the thoughts of the blog's editor Dan Wimbush on his teams run-in.

CC: We are right at the business end of the season and Reading are in with a play-off shout, but do you think the team secure a top six place and what do you think about the run in of fixtures you have left - some games must stick out as very hard ones?

TTE: Well it's a mixed picture really but in my mind this game is going to be the hardest of our remaining six! After our trip to the South Coast we've got a home games with already promoted Leicester, and a probably promoted Burnley as well as games against teams with probably nothing to play for in Donny, Middlesbrough and hopefully Wigan. As an eternal pessimist I can still seeing us mess it all up but we're in a fantastic position to make the promotion lottery.

CC: Was the Barnsley game just a bad day at the office or do you think it's the pressure building up?

TTE: It was a horrendous day at the office but sadly was just one of a string of woeful home performances that have seen us win just two games in eleven. We really struggle against teams that sit back, which is why our home form is so bad but our away form has been so excellent. We really do have the ability to beat any team on our day and the more open the game the better!

CC: Would you say the majority of Reading fans are pleased with Nigel Adkins?

TTE: I think most fans sympathise with him at this stage because he was clearly sold a vision of the club that's very different to the reality. He set about trying to rebuild the side but the sudden departure of our owner left him with no funds and having to work with Brian McDermott's side who were used to playing a much different brand of football. Throw in a ridiculous injury list and keeping us in the top six has to be seen as a very good effort. Sure he's made the odd baffling decision but he's done well overall.

CC: If Reading get promoted what does Adkins need to do to make the team a stronger outfit at the top level?

TTE: A lot to say the least. The squad is largely made up of players who looked out of their depth last season in the top flight and few have taken significant steps forward. We'd need large scale investment across the pitch to be competitive but the likes of Crystal Palace show that with the right moves you can do it.

CC: Who would you say is the player that is your biggest goal threat at the moment?

TTE: Goal scoring hasn't exactly come easily in recent weeks, with Adam Le Fondre without a goal since January and Pavel Pogrebnyak also struggling in open play. Our midfielders are all chipping in with the odd goal which is nice and I suppose the real positive is that while no one player looks an outstanding threat, you can see just about any of the 10 outfield players scoring.

CC:  Royston Drenthe looked a great player when he came on against the Cherries at the Madejski. He seems to be getting more games for you now but it is surprising to see he only has two goals this season. How is he doing?

TTE: Drenthe had a fantastic August but an injury against Leeds in mid-September coupled with some undisclosed personal problems looked as if they'd see the Dutch winger out of the club with a whimper and without finding the net. Thankfully those issues seem to be behind him now and while he's still not dominating games the way many of us had hoped, he's become a lot more effective, especially away from home.

CC: You battered AFCB for the first 20 minutes or more at the Madejski but got caught with two quick breakaway goals, so what kind of game do you expect at Dean Court?

TTE: That game was typical of most of our home games this season, where we failed to make early pressure count before capitulating to sloppy defeats. We've one just once all season from going behind but likewise haven't lost when we've taken a lead. With that in mind the first goal is going to be absolutely crucial on Tuesday night and if we get it I think we'll have enough to hold on but if we go behind it could get ugly fast for the Royals.

CC: What do you think about your away form this season?

TTE: You can't be unhappy with a campaign that's seen 10 away wins including wins at QPR and Derby. We've not lost away since January and we've played some of our best football on the road this season, if only we could translate that to results at the Madejski Stadium!

CC:  Will it be easy to pick Reading's best player of the season?

TTE: Not really because no one player has had a consistently good season, as lots of players have played well in patches or have been steady but not spectacular. Young full-back Jordan Obita is winning plenty of hearts after his conversion to left-back while goal keeper Alex McCarthy has been outstanding at times. Adam Le Fondre was awesome in January while his strike partner Pavel Pogrebnyak has plugged away all season long and has earned the respect of Reading fans after a difficult first season at the club.

CC:  Are you surprised that Burnley and Leicester are so far ahead of the other teams in the league?

TTE: Yes and no, I don't think either have been amazing to watch but both have just had the consistency to get results where as the rest of us just seem to slip up far too often. There's not much difference between the top eight in terms of ability and potential but the fantastic team spirit at Turf Moor and the ruthless consistency at the King Power look to have seen both of them back to the Premier League.

CC: I had better ask what you think the score will be tonight?

TTE: I'm going for a very nervy and edgy 1-1, I think Bournemouth will come at Reading full steam and we might just catch you on the break. From there it's a big defensive effort from Reading but we can't quite hang on.

CC: Thank you for giving some detailed answers Dan. I know this is a difficult game for both teams and will be one of the crunch fixtures this Tuesday that could define so much of the season, not only for our two clubs but for others as well. It is an eagerly anticipated game by fans of the Cherries and imagine it is equally so among Reading's fans. In many ways I think the match at the Madejski was key in Bournemouth's season and it helped give our side belief. It is fitting that this big match at Dean Court will be an evening fixture and I hope it is a good atmosphere with many travelling fans expected despite it being a mid-week game.

For more news and thoughts on how The Royals are shaping up for this fixture please have a read of the recent reports on The Tilehurst End. Cherry Chimes has also written some answers for The Tilehurst End blog so you could well see some more of my thoughts about tonight's match up on this site at some point later today.

You'll also see that we have put a short snap poll up in the right hand panel to see who just may be the Bournemouth player who is likely to walk off with all the player of the season trophies this year. I've narrowed it down a bit but if your favourite isn't there click the other box!

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