Reading may have lost to Manchester City, but the manner of their defeat would have provided renewed hope that they can escape the drop and some new recruits in January could enhance optimism further.
Nine points through 18 games does not inspire much hope of survival, but punters believing they can pull of a great escape can get 11/2 on Brian McDermott masterminding a major revival.
Squad improvements do seem necessary and Andrey Arshavin is one name that has been linked with a £4m switch to the Madejski.
Arshavin has only featured in six Premier League games for Arsenal so far and would become Reading’s highest earner if completing the move.
The fact that Reading are owned by Russian businessman Anton Zingarevich makes the deal more plausible, while Arshavin will be able to team up with international and former Zenit teammate Pavel Pogrebnyak again.
The loan market may also help Reading gain some additional Premier League experience and with Scott Parker back fit, Tom Huddlestone may be allowed to leave Tottenham.
Huddlestone has already found himself behind Mousa Dembele and Sandro in the pecking order and so a loan move may be the best way to prove to Andre Villas-Boas that he still has a future at the club.
It has been in defence where Reading have mainly struggled this season, conceding 37 times, which is the most in the top flight thus far.
Therefore, a new defender must also be a priority and Zambia’s Stopilla Sunzu is one option.
However, the fact that he will be playing at the African Cup of Nations has poured some cold water on the deal, while Arsenal may provide some competition for his signature.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date