Problems mount for McDermott as unsettled Pogrebnyak plans talks with Reading owner
22:51 GMT, 13 December 2012
Reading's return to the Premier League is starting to unravel.
Manager Brian McDermott spent
modestly in the summer, only buying two players totalling 5million and
bringing five others in for free following their promotion as
But almost half-way through the
season they are already six points adrift of 18th place, have only one
league win all season and five losses in their last five matches.
Poor return: Pavel Pogrebnyak has scored just two goals this season
And the futures of two of the players brought in this summer on big wages to help form a core to their side are now in doubt.
Danny Guthrie is reported to be on 20,000 per week but in six months has been at the centre of three major incidents. Twice he reacted badly to being left out of the first team and on Tuesday, having recovered from a thigh injury, would not travel to Sunderland.
McDermott yesterday refused to guarantee his future at the club. He is yet to speak to the midfielder and said he will not be arranging a meeting with the player – it is up to Guthrie to approach him.
The 51-year-old said: 'I'm sure he'll want to talk to me but we'll see. I've got 20-odd players in the squad and I'm focussed on them and the game we've got coming up [against Arsenal].
'I don't think anything in football is untenable, there's always a way back, and the way back for him would be to train to the best of his ability, get himself in the team, play well, win games and then the fans can forgive an awful lot.'
Under pressure: Manager Brian McDermott
Reading broke their wage structure to beat Fulham to Pavel Pogrebnyak's signature. They pay him 30,000 per week. The striker scored six Premier League goals in 12 games for Fulham on loan for the second half of last season.
But he has managed only two league goals in 11 appearances this campaign and speaking to Russian media channels Pogrebnyak cast doubt about his future at the club.
The 29-year-old said: 'What's going on I'm not ready to answer this question. I am yet to discuss the issue with the team's owner Anton Zingarevich, but this is probably necessary. After the defeat to Southampton the situation in the struggle for survival is complicated.'
McDermott is targeting players with Premier League experience in January to help Reading survive. But he is going to have to chose more wisely than he did over the summer.
They have four games against teams in the top eight before the window even opens – and need to drastically improve their form to avoid becoming entangled in a relegation battle almost impossible to win