It's been a busy week. Four cities in six days and too many opportunities for a pint and it's never just one. So I apologise for my lack of activity and that is to everyone. If it's not been an active engagement, I've just ignored the email.
And I've missed the transfer window and all that excitement. But is it really excitement? Watch the interview below with Dean Smith and he's happy we've got two left footed centre backs and two right footed centre backs. But yes, numbers are important. It's what the manager does with those numbers that count.
The new players are Tom Carroll, Frederic Guilbert and Tyrone Mings. Mings and Carroll are here but Guilbert will be back for next season. But some players have also left with Bree and Hogan both going out on loan. I've probably missed a bit, but this is it now for the rest of the season.
And all these changes can be a good thing. Just because I think that change usually brings disruption doesn't mean that will happen now. We're 4 points off top six and it's more than possible this season. So we need that push.
And I don't want to bring out the chart again, because I don't want anyone thinking that Dean Smith is getting questioned but it is more than possible. A win today could be what starts it and come April, when we go to Sheffield Wednesday, we could be well and truly stuck in the top six. Hell, we're only 12 points from second. It's still not impossible.
So today at Reading is going to be fun. They are in the bottom three and they're not having a great season. This is all an opportunity for us today. It's these matches where we have to take them. If we don't win today, it's matches like that that we'll look at at the end of the season as why we didn't go up.
And we have the players. Oh, boy, do we have the players.
Match facts from the BBC
- Reading have never won back to back home league matches against Aston Villa.
- Villa have only won one of their last four league matches against Reading.
- Reading's win against Nottingham Forest in their last home league game ended a run of five without a win at the Madejski for the Royals.
- Villa have lost more points from winning positions (23) than any other Championship side this season.
- Eight of Reading striker Nelson Oliveira's nine Championship goals since the start of last season have been scored in the second half.
- Top scorer Tammy Abraham has scored six of Aston Villa's last seven goals in the Championship.