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18th October 2014

 Reading 0                                 Derby County 3

                                                 Chris Martin 18 & 79

                                                 Jordan Ibe 38

 Experience tells us that a trip to play Reading at the Madjeski Stadium is rarely a pleasant experience – our last seven visits have ended as follows

D 0-0

D 2-2

L 1-2

L 1-4

L 0-3

L 0-1

L 0-5

Indeed, previous to this game we had won only 9 of our total 36 games against the Royals so to come away from one of our more bogier of bogey grounds as we did today with 3 points in a 3-0 win is particularly pleasing.

The season continues to develop well – now unbeaten in 11 games since that 2-3 defeat to Charlton this win saw us move up into second place in the table and try out one of the automatic promotion places for comfort….it feels just our size don’t you think ?

Indeed, after Chris Martin put us into the lead early on with a rare headed goal for the Rams, one of such untroubled simplicity as he escaped some non existent marking that it would have had us raging with frustration had we conceded it, the Rams sat at the top of the table for approximately four minutes until Watford took the lead at Hillsborough and took top spot.

I was so tempted to take a screen shot of that league table but it really doesn’t matter after eleven and a quarter games does it ?

This was a good away performance that yet again underlined the importance of Chris Martin to our team moving, as he did, onto 9 goals for the season with his brace. A couple of other decent chances were also spurned by him but although Lee Grant was kept busy and Pavel Pogrebnyak really should have scored to pull the score back to 1-2 (which could have seen the jitters that were starting to show really go into overdrive) our ability to put away our chances, and Jordan Ibe’s goal was a lovely piece of skill it should be noted, helped keep the underpowered Royals at arm’s length throughout.

A feature of this season has been our improving defensive record and this game saw us keep a clean sheet for the fifth successive game an impressive achievement, particularly when the central defence has seen changing partnerships of ;

Keogh & Shotton vs Reading in the League Cup

Keogh & Whitbread vs Bolton

Keogh & Shotton vs Bournemouth

Keogh & Whitbread vs Millwall

Keogh & Whitbread then Shotton & Whitbread vs Reading today

Keogh’s departure with what seems to be a head injury would call into question his place in the side to play Blackpool on Tuesday but with Jake Buxton back on the bench and Jake Whitbread and Ryan Shotton having been part of the team this season we have available a depth of choice that has not always been the case in previous seasons – just what is needed if a promotion push is to become a reality.

It looks like Jamie Ward will be missing for sure against Blackpool and there are questions also about the fitness of Lee Grant after he took a knock late on and also Craig Bryson. The depth of choice in the squad at central defence is also visible in other positions though and it is good to see the Rams with a choice and depth of players.

More of the same against a Blackpool team fighting against the odds of sever under investment and bizarre ownership decisions (that takes us back doesn’t it ? ) on Tuesday night would be very welcomed