It's "Leeds Against The World" time again here at Through It All Together, and this week, we have the lovely Reading FC visiting Elland Road on a calm, collected, no-soap-opera-here Saturday afternoon.
Well, that couldn't be further from the truth could it? Leeds United will be hoping to put the newspaper stories behind them and focus on the opponent on the pitch when that whistle blows, so that's what we'll try to do here too. We'll have a full preview of all the festivities later today, but for now, we've asked Dan Wimbush, the editor of SB Nation's Reading blog The Tilehurst End, a few questions to give us the viewpoint of our opponents. Not Massimo Cellino; no, the Royals. Stop that.
As always, we hope you find it a worthwhile exercise to see things from the other side before a match. Meet the Royals through the eyes of Dan, then check out his blog and get ready for Saturday.
Leeds Against The World: Reading FC
Hey, Daniel. Thanks for being up for this this week. We haven’t seen Reading since August, but it looks like both of our teams are going to end up in the middle of the table this season. What’s been the best part of the year? Anything to look forward to next season?
The fact this season will be over is a good reason to look forward to next season! We had a cracking run in September and October that led us all the way up to second but just couldn't maintain form and reverted to look more like the team that ended last year in 19th. There was another good FA Cup run as well plus a few younger players have impressed here and out on loan. I'm looking forward to seeing how the club tries to rebuild!
What’s been the worst part? Anything that has to change over the summer?
Well, lots really. The club has been on the slide for four seasons now and we've reached the point where there's few players in the squad you could say 100% deserve to be here. It's time to get back to the hard to beat, gritty, determined Reading sides of 2000-2012 rather than the confused, not sure what we're trying to be mess we've got into since first selling to foreign ownership in late 2011. Overall it's just been disappointing to see players that you felt had so much potential just fail to maintain form over any period of time.
How is Brian McDermott doing? I've heard some want him out?
For me he's doing OK, but there's a vocal minority that never wanted him back and would say our failure to contend for the play-offs justifies that view. Personally I don't see how a man is supposed to turn around 3 1/2 years of misery inside four months but hey, each to their own. We have seen glimpses of the 'old Reading' return under Brian but it's going to take time and careful investment to make it work....whether he'll get that time though...
Do you have a favorite Reading-Leeds memory?
Winning with two late goals over Easter in our promotion season was very satisfying, especially after Michael Brown and Neil Warnock had tried every dirty trick in the book to get a point. I also have fond memories of visiting in 2005/06 when we were already promoted and snatching a draw thanks to Stephen Hunt. The season before was less enjoyable as Rob Hulse scored a goal or two and we got thumped 3-1....
What’s one matchup we should watch for on Saturday?
After the defeat at Boro I've got no idea who'll play, but if he does it'll be interesting to see if Matej Vydra bounces back from some miserable form in front of goal, sure big Sol won't give him much chance though.
Give us a reason you’ll win:
It's the end of the season, both teams are safe and anything can happen.
Give us a reason you’ll lose:
...It's the end of the season, both teams are safe and anything can happen.
What’s your predicted result?
Somewhere between 0-0 & 5-5... but I'll go 1-1.
It'll be fun to see how the Leeds United crowd treats Brian McDermott, as Steve Evans looks to soon be Cellino's longest tenured manager. Cellino is just such a... no, stop, stop that. I wanted to focus on the pitch. Dan predicted a 1-1 draw, sounds about right to me, though I'd say Leeds score two.
Big thanks to Dan Wimbush for responding to our questions and helping with our eighth edition of the Leeds Against The World Q&A. You can read more of his work over at the SB Nation blog for Reading, The Tilehurst End.
We'll have a full preview of the match coming later today from our Anthony Linley. What do you think will happen against the Royals, Leeds fans? We're trying to get some reader conversations going below in the comments after every article, why don't you start us off? Think Dan gave a fair representation of the Reading FC fanbase? Identify with his disappointment? Think his prediction was accurate? Let us know what you think, and as always, thanks for reading. Until next time, #MOT.