This is turning into a very good season for Reading, who have quietly gone about their business in both the Championship and transfer market.
The jury was open as to how the Royals would fare this season, when the Berkshire outfit announced Jaap Stam was taking charge, in the Dutchman’s first managerial role in England.
Stam boasted a mightily successful playing career, and it appears for the former Manchester United and Lazio legend has brought that experience with him in management.
Reading sit third in the table, and though teams below them have games in hand, they’re very much in the play-off picture.
Plus, should one of Brighton or Newcastle lose momentum later in the year, we fancy Reading will be poised to capitalise.
And as they defeated Birmingham 1-0 last night in their latest impressive display, the Royals got the job done in the transfer market too.
In a steady bit of Deadline Day business, Stam welcomed a trio of experienced and talented players on loan to the Madjeski.
Jordon Mutch has arrived from Crystal Palace, with the midfielder eager for game-time having fallen down the pecking order at Selhurst Park.
The 25-year-old has spent his entire career – barring a three-game spell with Hereford – in the top two tiers, and will be a very useful asset to the Royal’s promotion push.
And Lewis Grabban is another eye-catching arrival, just 12 months after being signed by Bournemouth for a whopping £8m.
The 29-year-old striker brings a wealth of experience, but just as importantly, hammered in 34 Championship goals in two seasons between 2013 and 2015.
But the signing who could really stand out for Reading, is the temporary acquisition of Reece Oxford from West Ham.
The Hammers have been oh so careful to ensure the 18-year-old’s career evolves in the best way possible, with the versatile defender touted as one of England’s brightest talents.
He has already had 18 months under Slaven Bilic’s tutelage, but now Oxford will be under the guidance of Stam, and there are surely few better defensive maestros to learn from.
All told, it looks pretty good for Reading, and we think the 9/2 on them to get promoted this season look fantastic value, especially after yesterday’s Deadline Day successes – both on and off the pitch.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing