Opposition View: Luton Town vs Reading
Separated by goal difference and two positions, both Luton Town and Reading will be looking to inflict pressure on the top-six Championship positions this evening.
ORH spoke to Reading fan Adam Jones to hear the views of the opposition ahead of tonight's contest at Kenilworth Road...
Tell us about your Reading supporting history
I’ve been following the Royals since 2006 when they were in the Premier League! Rarely missing a home game between 2008 and 2018, university and other commitments have limited my ability to go to many matches since but I still follow us closely.
It’s also a great hobby of mine to write and appear on podcasts for The Tilehurst End, writing and speaking about the club I love!
How has the season panned out so far for the Royals?
Our team have put supporters on an emotional rollercoaster this season. We’ve put in some dreadful performances - but also responded extremely well and if we’re being us - we have done much better than we were expecting to so far this season.
The players’ commitment to the cause can’t be questioned and we have done extremely well in the face of an injury crisis in defence. Unfortunately, we sit back far too much at times but when we’re on top form, we look like a team that belongs in the Championship. That gives me optimism for the future - but survival isn’t guaranteed and we need to keep ourselves in a respectable position between now and the World Cup. This will give us something to build on.
Tom Ince seems to have found form at Reading - What have you made of his season so far?
He’s been excellent and exceeded my expectations despite the fact he was also decent last term. Without him, we aren’t as much of a threatening outfit and this is the reason why we need to keep him as fit for as long as possible.
Undoubtedly our best attacking midfielder after the departure of John Swift, he has also been a decent player to have up top as a good pressure. His energy and commitment has been refreshing - and long may his good form continue.
Reading certainly have a plethora of final third options - How have the Royals performed as an attacking unit so far?
I think we’re still trying to find the right combination up front.
Having all of our forward options fit and available has provided Paul Ince with a good selection headache for once but he still needs to find the right two to start up top.
For me, Tom Ince has to be in the advanced midfield role, with two up front. Unfortunately for Lucas Joao, things haven’t worked out for him but that’s partly because of the playing style, with Shane Long, Yakou Meite and Andy Carroll showing more promise than he has so far this season.
Carroll has been excellent at times but we need to ensure we aren’t too reliant on him, as well as Shane Long who has been a real asset since his return but can’t play 90 minutes every week. It has also taken Yakou Meite a considerable amount of time to get his mojo back after recovering from an ACL injury - but he has done well in recent games as an effective figure.
What have you made of Luton so far this season?
I studied Luton in depth during their game against QPR last month and you were nothing short of superb in that game. Pressing from the first whistle and asserting your dominance, you reminded me of our 2011/12 promotion-winning team.
You may not have the best squad on paper - but you’re definitely a team that combines well and you have more than enough in the final third to be up there again this season. Having the luxury of bringing on Cameron Jerome and Harry Cornick will serve you well - as will the signing of Carlton Morris who I’m a big fan of.
It would be surprising if you weren’t in the top six when the end of the season comes along, even considering the strength of other sides in the division. Good luck to you - apart from tonight and the reverse fixture!
Unfortunately for you lot, we don’t have Orjan Nyland anymore so there won’t be a repeat of last season. I’m just hoping Joe Lumley doesn’t make a similar howler!
A similar result may be on the horizon though with the hosts certainly the favourites coming into this clash. I’ll go with a 1-0 Luton win - but it may not be an easy clash for the Hatters.