The Opposition View - Millwall
1. What were your expectations before the season started?
I thought we'd be an improved team on the previous season (not terribly difficult I'll admit), finish around mid-table, and maybe - if everything came together and Lomas turned out to be an inspirational choice - crack the top ten. I can't remember the last time our fans were so wildly varied going into the season though. Some thought Steve Morison was coming back to take us to the promised land. Others thought Lomas would destroy us. I'm tilting to the latter group.
2. After a tough start, you seem to be finally finding your feet. Where do you think you will finish this season now you have seen the opening quarter of the season?
Somewhere around 16th. We've got some decent players in the squad. Shame we don't have someone who knows what to do with them.
3. How disappointed were you to see long-serving manager Kenny Jackett to leave the club? Was it the right time for both of you to move on?
I was gutted. In my opinion he's the best manager outside of the Premier League. Some of our fans reeled out the argument 'he's taken us as far as he can'. My view (and I presume his) is 'In that case, he's taken us as far as anyone can'. To do what he did on the budget he did was amazing. Saying that, I am surprised he left for Wolverhampton. It says a lot about the state of our club to resign after a long spell of (relative) success, in order to manage a club that's just been relegated twice in consecutive seasons to League One.
4. The appointment of Steve Lomas raised a few eyebrows with his West Ham connections. What did you think of the appointment then and how do you feel about him now?
I thought he was useless when they appointed him, and I feel worse about him now. First of all, his management experience consists of St. Neots Town and St. Johnstone. He's gone from a brief management spell in the least competitive league in European football to trying to keep a struggling team up in possibly the most competitive league. Second of all, the man is West Ham through and through. I know people say 'oh, Harry Cripps came up through the West Ham system to become a Millwall legend', and 'David Forde (our current keeper) played for West Ham'. Yes, but there's a big difference between playing a handful of games and being a badge-kissing, soul pledging, club captain for the vermin.
I don't think he has a clue what he's doing at Millwall. He's played 27 different players already this season. I wouldn't be surprised if he picks the starting 11 by tombola. So far this season we've lost to Yeovil at home, lost by four at home to a Derby team that's so bad they sacked their manager a few weeks later, gave up five goals to Bournemouth, lost by 4 goals to Birmingham.
5. Who is your stand out player at the moment?
Going into this match...I still can't believe this, it stuns me to say it...Scott Malone. Scott Malone was one of the most vilified 'wage thieves' at the club last year. He was brought in at the end of the 2012 season as a left back, and Jackett tried to make him a left midfielder. He was terrible - a scarecrow planted into the ground would have been better - and dropped deep into the reserves, not even the bench. He was nowhere to be seen all season, other than on Twitter where he'd irk fans by tweeting about playing Fifa and generally doing nothing. This season he only got a chance to play about a month ago after Shane Lowry earned a Lowry-esque 3-match suspension, and has been our most attacking player...from left back. Of course, being the club's most attacking player is easy when Lomas alienated the previous title holder (your pal James Henry) and gave him to Wolves on loan, but that's a separate rant.
6. If you could take any Reading player at the moment, who would it be and why?
Probably Stephen Kelly, because we desperately need a reliable right back. Our current options are Alan Dunne, who collects cards like a Las Vegas croupier, Paul Connolly, who's only on short-term loan, and Karleigh Osborne who...well...just no.
7. What starting XI and shape do you expect to see on Saturday?
I think we'll probably see an unchanged 4-4-2: Forde, Malone, Shittu, Robinson, Connolly, Bailey, Trotter, Abdou, Woolford, McDonald, Waghorn. However, I'd like to see Lowry in for Shittu.
8. What is your prediction for the game?
Reading 3 - Millwall 1