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‘Low on confidence’ – Veljko Paunovic facing potential selection dilemma ahead of Derby County clash: The verdict

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This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

Reading will be looking to pick up a much-needed win when they return to action on Monday afternoon, as they prepare to face Derby County at the Madejski Stadium. 

The Royals were forced to settle for a point in their most recent match, as they drew 1-1 with Barnsley at Oakwell, in a result that didn’t do either side too many favours in the race for a top-six finish.

Lucas Joao spurned a golden opportunity to put Reading ahead in the second-half, as he fired his effort wide from close-range, with Barnsley goalkeeper Bradley Collins beaten.

Joao has struggled for confidence in recent weeks, with the forward only scoring once in his last nine matches, which has seen some sections of the Madejski Stadium faithful call for him to be dropped from the starting XI in favour of George Puscas.

Joao has netted 21 goals in 34 appearances for Reading though, and has been key to their promotion bid this term under the management of Veljko Paunovic.

But should Joao be dropped from the starting XI for Reading’s match against Derby on Monday afternoon?

We discuss….

Phil Spencer: 

I certainly think that he could do with being taken out of the firing line.

After a wonderful start to the season Lucas Joao has certainly tailed off in recent weeks and that has led to criticism.

Add into that his miss against Barnsley and you see a player who is very low on confidence.

Perhaps taking him out of the side could be a good idea and then in a week or two he can come back refreshed and ready to help the Royals as they push towards the play-offs.

George Harbey: 

I’m not too sure to be honest.

Joao is obviously not in the greatest form of late and the miss against was Barnsley was absolutely terrible.

But Reading need results at the moment, and I’m in the camp that you should play your best players.

Without Joao’s goals, Reading wouldn’t be anywhere near the play-offs I reckon, and I think he has the quality to come good.

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Ben Wignall: 

I definitely think Joao could do with a game on the bench in order to give George Puscas another go up-front.

There’s no doubting that when Joao has been on form this season there’s not many better strikers in this Championship, but that miss against Barnsley may haunt him for a while.

There’s no way he should have ever put that chance off target and it’s definitely a good opportunity for Veljko Paunovic to give him a little rest and go with Puscas instead.

The Romanian has been an expensive investment for the Royals, so why not use him? He scored against Blackburn Rovers last month in one of his few starts this season and it could be time to bring him back into the fold again.


Editorial Assistant at Snack Media, writing for Football League World on a regular basis! Sports Journalism graduate from Southampton Solent University.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: ‘Low on confidence’ – Veljko Paunovic facing potential selection dilemma ahead of Derby County clash: The verdict

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