Tim Dellor's Royals Watching: Reading have big news during international break
There is literally some “big news” at the SCL Stadium this week. All 6ft 4in of Andy Carroll arrived for a two month stay.
The former Newcastle, Liverpool, West Ham and England striker is at Reading to ease a crisis. With Lucas Joao, Yakou Meite, Femi Azeez and now Jamari Clarke all out, alternatives to the out of form George Puscas are non-existent.
The extremely media-shy Chief Exec Dayeng Pang unhelpfully gave us no extra information when he told the club website they have long term injuries, strength in depth in attack has been limited, and Carroll would offer the first team squad something different. Most Reading FC followers will not find such quotes especially insightful.
Without knowing the financial terms, or Carroll’s current level of fitness, it looks like a shrewd piece of business. The deal only lasts until mid-January, so in that sense is low risk. If he scores a few goals and plays even half of each game between now and then, Reading will be looking to extend his deal in January, though by then other clubs with more financial clout will become interested. If he joins all the other strikers in the treatment room, or looks way off the pace, then Reading can quietly send him on his way.
Spare a thought for the players on Saturday, when you hear an angry fan shout from the stands something along the lines of “how can he be tired, he’s had a couple of weeks off”. Not many of the team actually have.
Take the captain Liam Moore, who often seems to cop lots of unwarranted flak. He flew to San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, to play for Jamaica. He then popped back to his nation’s home ground to play the USA. Now he is back in Reading. San Salvador is half way to New Zealand and the ground there is nearly 700 meters above sea level.
If, on Saturday, he looks a bit sluggish in the 80th minute against Nottingham Forest, is that a surprise? Not many of us have to work and travel to that level of intensity in a week. “Luckily it is just the two games, rather than three as we have had recently, so I’ll get a bit of time to get back, rest and recover in time for the Forest game”, the Reading captain told me. “I’m someone who can sleep pretty much anywhere well, but nothing’s the same as your own bed. This window gets us back earlier so I can recuperate. Sometimes you’re not back until Friday morning from these international breaks ahead of a Saturday game”.