Chat with First Team Coach
Reading First Team Coach Dean Wilkins spoke at length with TalkSport’s Mark Saggers on Tuesday evening – and you can read a selection of the interview below.
Click here to listen again to the entire chat – which starts about three minutes after 9pm.
So far so good Dean? You’re in the position you want to be?
It’s been a strange start if I’m honest with you. We’ve not been as consistent as we actually would like to have been, even at this early stage. But as you rightly say we’re in a good position in and amongst the pack.
The away form is perhaps the difference between making a top six position and automatic position? Have you looked at the consistency there?
I think we look at performances generally in terms of the consistency, even at home. On Saturday we were one up against Millwall and they’re down to ten men, that’s a game you should really be winning. 3-1 up against Watford at home earlier in the season, we ended up drawing that. That level of consistency isn’t just away – at home as well.
Are you happy with the level of the squad?
Like any club you’d like to have the option of bringing more quality into the side, to make sure that position you’re going for is more possible. We lost Jem Karacan earlier in the season to a nasty injury – which is a big blow for us because the partnership with Jem and Danny Guthrie was looking a very, very good one – and a very energetic one as well. But we’ve bought in Chris Baird who has added experience to the midfield with Danny, that’s working well for us at the moment. The squad is looking strong – we’ve got experienced players out still, people like Jason Roberts and Mikele Leigertwood – so hopefully they’ll be back soon. But it’s looking OK.
Have you had to change your thinking of tactics and coaching because of the different opposition this season?
We’ve always tried to be flexible – we’ve always tried to have a plan A, a plan B and sometimes a plan C as well! I think that stood us in good stead at our previous club. That’s the way we’ve worked together and I think that’s the way we’ll continue to work. I think you do need to be a bit flexible at times, you’re not going to have every game going your own way. Sometimes you just have to stem the flow of the opposition I think. We’ve got a few ways that we’ve played even this season, a few different formations – and it does make a difference if you can switch from one to another.
You’ve got to be adaptable? Look at the opposition and exploit their weaknesses?
I think they’re the sort of scenarios we’re going to try and nail down in training. There are periods in games you need to slow it down, quicken it up, and calm it down. And you need players on the pitch being able to manage that. Sometimes you’re on the side of the pitch and there are games where you just can’t get the message on there. You need players with that experience with that knowledge, that calmness to deal with that in the thick of battle.