This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Comment’ series, this content strand is where the author of the article issues their personal opinion on the topic at hand….
It’s safe to say that Mark Bowen has made a positive impact with Reading since his appointment back in October 2019, as they look to climb the Championship table heading into the final nine league games.
Recent events mean that the Championship campaign won’t get back underway until 3rd April at the earliest, although it remains to be seen as to whether games will take place on the scheduled date after off-the-field problems.
The Royals have pulled of some notable wins against the likes of Fulham and Birmingham City on their travels since the turn of the year, and they’ll be hoping they can challenge for a surprise top-six finish as the season progresses.
But even if the Berkshire-based side aren’t to finish inside the play-off places this season, they’ve made real progress compared to their last two seasons in the second-tier of English football.
Reading have finished 20th in the Championship in their last two seasons, which will have been hugely frustrating for the Madejski Stadium faithful, who had seen their side beaten in the play-off final against Huddersfield Town before their disappointing collapse.
The future is certainly bright for the Royals though, regardless of who is in charge of first-team matters for the future. They seem to have promising young players in a number of positions, which will be pleasing to see for the club’s supporters.
Can you name these Reading centre-backs? Test your knowledge in our quiz!
Although some of these young players haven’t made the breakthrough into the first-team yet, there is certainly reasons to be excited, as some of these have looked bright in their performances when featuring for Bowen’s side.
Luke Southwood is currently making a name for himself out on loan with Scottish side Hamilton Academical, and has caught the eye with a number of impressive performances, most notably against Rangers, where he kept a clean-sheet against Steven Gerrard’s men in a 1-0 win at Ibrox. The shot-stopper could well be challenging Rafael for the No.1 jersey at Reading in the near future.
Tom McIntyre has already started to impress for the Reading first-team, and is exactly the type of player that could go on to captain his boyhood club in the future if he can learn from the likes of Michael Morrison and Liam Moore as his season progresses.
In midfield, Andy Rinomhota has established himself as a regular in the Reading first-team, and his work-rate has certainly added something different to the Royals midfield in recent weeks.
Michael Olise (pictured above) looks as though he could be the breakthrough prospect from the club’s academy this season, with the attacking-midfielder being a threat through the middle and out wide when deployed as a winger by Mark Bowen.
Danny Loader has had raving reviews for a number of seasons now, and almost completed a move to Wolves last season, although a move failed to materialise for the forward. He has struggled for consistent game time in the Reading first-team since Bowen took charge, but has impressed with the club’s Under 23’s side this season.
So, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic for Reading supporters, with some of the club’s youngsters likely to be a key part of any success they will have in future seasons.