The Opposition View - Barnsley
1. What were your expectations before the season started and have they changed at all over the course of the season? How confident are you of escaping relegation once again?
Before the beginning of the season the main thing I was hoping for was to once again retain our Championship status. After last seasons miraculous escape I was reasonably confident the squad had enough belief to do that even though they aren't the best bunch of players in the division. Over the season it has become obvious that team spirit can only get you so far, our lack of quality allover the pitch has shone through and the togetherness shown last season has totally vanished.
In terms of the rest of the season, I can't see beyond certain relegation. Even though we are only 3 points behind 4th bottom Charlton, recent performances show no signs of things turning around, and with sackings of the assistant manager (Micky Mellon) and goalkeeper coach (Ian Willcock) this week, I think the club are already preparing for League One next season.
2. Why do you think you find yourselves fighting a relegation battle once again?
As mentioned in the previous question i thing it is a lot to do with last seasons great escape. Don't get me wrong David Flitcroft did a fantastic job keeping us in the division, but he failed to adequately strengthen the squad over the summer even though it was obvious our fight & determination kept us up rather than our technical ability.
It was Flitcroft's first managerial job so understandably he was a little wet behind the ears, but I think he vastly underestimated the strength of our squad compared to the rest of the league. The players look like they've had enough this season and just want to get it over with.
3. Between when we last spoke, David Flitcroft was sacked as manager, with Danny Wilson replacing him - did you agree with both decisions and was Wilson improved the team at all?
Sacking David Flitcroft was definitely the correct decision for the football club. I, like anyone love to see managers given time, but DF wasn't experienced enough for this level of management, and once we started losing games regularly he clearly was out of his depth and didn't know what to do.
To be fair to Danny Wilson the damage was very much already done in my opinion. The team, and supporters confidence was at rock bottom and turning that around was always going to be very difficult. Nevertheless, the acquisitions he has made have been no better (some worse) than the players we had under DF, and the way we are playing is utterly horrible to watch.
4. Who are your stand out players in the side at the moment?
To be honest it is very difficult to answer this question at the moment. To pick out one individual I would have to say Dale Jennings. He had hardly any playing time under DF and was shipped out on loan to MK Dons, but since Wilson took over he has become a regular in the side. Currently, he is the only player who looks like making something happen going forward.
5. If you could take any Reading player at the moment, who would it be and why?
Our main problem is definitely in midfield. There's no creative spark to make something happen going forward, so I'd have to say someone like Jobi McAnuff or Royston Drenthe.
6. What starting XI and shape do you expect to see on Tuesday from Wilson?
We've picked up a number of injuries over the last few games so the team has been changing quite a lot recently. I expect Wilson to stick to a straight forward 4-4-2 (Right to Left): Steele (GK), McLaughlin, M'Voto, Nyatanga, Kennedy; Jennings, Dawson, Woods, Mellis; O'Grady, Pedersen.
7. What is your prediction for the game?
I can see nothing beyond yet another defeat. Reading have some top class players, and I think the quality will be too much for us. 2-0 Reading.