Reading ensured promotion to the Under-21 Premier League Division 1 last night with two games to spare after a goalless draw between Derby County and West Bromwich Albion means the Ram’s can no longer catch them.
|3||Derby County U21||22||12||4||6||39||20||+19||40|
|4||Newcastle United U21||21||9||5||7||41||36||+5||32|
|5||West Bromwich Albion U21||20||8||7||5||33||25||+8||31|
|7||Aston Villa U21||20||7||3||10||22||33||-11||24|
|8||Blackburn Rovers U21||21||5||6||10||23||30||-7||21|
|9||Bolton Wanderers U21||20||4||8||8||24||30||-6||20|
|10||Brighton & Hove Alb. U21||20||5||5||10||16||22||-6||20|
|11||Stoke City U21||20||4||6||10||23||44||-21||18|
Promotion comes after an incredible run of seven consecutive victories which propelled the Royals up the table and manager Martin Kuhl has cited a loss in January as the turning point in their season.
He said: “We were disappointed to miss out on promotion last season but the turning point was the 5-0 thrashing that we had a West Brom. That was the first game that the gaffer had come to see the Under-21’s play and since then, mentally, physically and technically, we have been superb.
“We’ve gone on a run and have been really good. At the beginning of the season, we were very pleased because we had 10 academy boys in the first-team squad and that gave the younger boys a great chance to come into the Under-21’s and, when they’ve come back, it’s been a very good battle.”
Reading have placed a lot of emphasis on their youth set up and Tariqe Fosu became the latest of 11 academy graduates to play in the first team this season leaving Kuhl delighted at the current set up.
Kuhl said “It’s been a very god season from the academy all round, for a club our size and, considering the investment that we have in the academy, it is great. The first team were a bit unfortunate at the start of the season with injuries but that allowed a lot of the U21s squad to break through. The manager has chucked a few kids in later in the season and I don’t think that they have ever let the first team down when called upon. It’s been a great experience for them and they have got their feet through the door.”
He continued: “We’ve got a good U21s group; they had a great run when they were U16s. At U18s they reached the final of the national play-off and semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup. They’ve got a great mentality too; a great focus. I could just throw a ball into the middle of them and they’ll just play. They love football. Their mental strength and what they do off the pitch with all their analysis, it’s almost religious.”
Reading play their last game of the season on May 15 against West Brom at the Madejski Stadium and fans can attend for FREE. Kick-off is at 7 pm!
Be sure to head down and inspire yourself by watching some Young Pro’s in the making!