With all the attention on big-spending QPR and FA Cup-winning Wigan suffering relegation in May, it can be easy to over look Reading, the other side to get sucked back in to the Championship.
Nigel Adkins had just eight games to make an impact and save the side from relegation following Brian McDermott’s departure in March, but now with a full summer to prepare, the former Southampton boss has begun to ring in the changes to a squad which is 8/1 to win the league this season.
Wayne Bridge has arrived from Man City on a one-year-deal after spending last season on loan at Brighton, where he quickly became one of the first names on the team-sheet. With that year of Championship football under his belt, there is little to faze the 32-year-old, who still has quality and ability in abundance.
The signing of Royston Drenthe from Russian side FC Alania Vladikavkaz has certainly raised a few eyebrows, but anybody who once commanded a £12m pound fee from Real Madrid must have something about them.
The Championship is well-known for being one of the toughest and most physically demanding leagues on the planet, and many have failed to adapt to the brutality of the second-tier in English football.
Though Drenthe may find it a challenge, his time at Everton will no doubt have been an eye-opener to English football, and Reading boast lower-league stalwarts like Jason Roberts and Garath McLeary to show him how it’s done.
Sir John Madjeski has also opened the chequebook to bring in American international midfielder Danny Williams from Hoffenheim.
Games involving Reading averaged over three goals per match last season – the third highest in the Premier League, and Williams’ arrival is no doubt an attempt to slow the end-to-end nature seen so often last year.
These signings, in addition to hotshot striker Adam Le Fondre and target man Pavel Pogrebnyak provide Reading with arguably one of the strongest sides in the Championship, and certainly one with no illusions about what is required of them from now until May.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing