Can Paul Ince Make A Difference At Reading? - partycasino

Can Paul Ince Make A Difference At Reading?

It’s fair to say that this season hasn’t gone as planned at Reading. After a solid seventh-place finish in 2020/21, the Berkshire-based outfit expected big things this term. However, after a significant points deduction, off the field issues and injuries to key players, it's a battle of survival that is on the agenda, rather than another shot at promotion.

The Blame Game

It’s always the case that when a team isn’t performing and finds itself languishing at the wrong end of the table, it’s the manager who ultimately pays the price. And, after a dismal run that saw Reading lose seven straight in the Championship, calls for Veljko Paunovic to be relieved of his duties were louder than ever. The Serb did manage to stop the rot with a draw at Peterborough United, another team in the mire, before victory away at Preston. But it was agreed before the 3-2 win at Deepdale that Paunovic’s time was up.

Ince Intro

Paunovic leaving was no surprise, but what did come out of the blue was the interim appointment of Paul Ince, who hasn’t managed a football club since leaving Blackpool in January 2014. Ince, 54, who has son Tom available for selection since he made a temporary move from Stoke last month, is now tasked with leading the 150-year-old outfit away from danger.

Things couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for Ince, who represented the likes of West Ham United, Manchester United, Inter Milan, Middlesbrough and Wolves in his playing days. Birmingham visited the Madejski, but Lucas Joao and John Swift (pen) goals were enough to secure victory, despite a late consolation via a Tom McIntyre own goal.

Expectations

As a player, Ince exuded all the qualities that Reading need now. He was all about grit, determination, aggression and organisation. He set the standard, and everyone else followed. It’s why he became known as “The Guvnor.” If he can get this across to his players, then Reading, who are currently eight points clear of the drop zone, should be fine.

Key Players

But, it’s arguably not Ince who will be the key man in Reading’s fight for survival, but the two players we mentioned above in Lucas Joao and John Swift. Joao, who only made his return to action last month following a severe hip injury, now has five goals and one assist in his previous seven outings.

And Swift is arguably one of the division’s players of the season. The 26-year-old has weighed in with eleven goals and thirteen assists from midfield, with a direct goal involvement every 1.29 games. With this ability and the consistency to contribute at the right end of the pitch, players of this ilk are something that the three sides below Reading – Derby County, Peterborough United and Barnsley – lack. So, maybe Ince's job is to keep his two key men on track and to demand more of the same.