What can Reading fans expect from new signing Marc McNulty?
Reading have announced the signing of Coventry forward Marc McNulty for an undisclosed fee. The Scotsman became the club’s fourth summer transfer, following the footsteps of Andy Yiadom, David Meyler and John O’Shea.
The truth is, Reading absolutely needed a new striker. Last campaign, they managed a meagre 48 goals and had the 4th worst attacking record in the division.
Mo Barrow was the only player to hit double figures in the league, netting 10 goals. Jon Dadi Bodvarsson was the highest scoring striker with 7, although spanning through all competitions, he also managed a total of 10.
Taking a look at the squad, it was obvious Bodvarsson needed more competition up front. Sone Aluko is decent but Sam Smith and Joseph Mendes are yet to prove a point. Veteran Yann Kermorgant is 36 and can’t be relied upon for one full campaign.
Let’s talk about the player himself though. What can McNulty bring to Reading and is he the right man for the Royals?
The 25-year-old striker started his career at Livingston, where he excelled. He scored 48 goals in 122 appearances for them in all competitions, eventually earning himself a deal at Sheffield United.
He didn’t seem to adapt well enough to life at Bramall Lane and had loan spells with Portsmouth and Bradford. At Pompey, he netted 12 times in 34 matches but at Bradford, he managed just one goal in 16 games.
Yet, Coventry manager Mark Robins saw something in him and signed him last summer. It turned out to be one of the wisest transfers he’s made in recent years, because McNulty got on the score sheet 28 times, providing 11 assists in 52 matches in all competitions. He was one of the main reasons Coventry won promotion from League Two to League One.
In terms of his style of play, the striker is one of those players who work really hard. His movement off the ball is impressive, as he makes runs to create space for teammates. He’s a clinical finisher, as his goalscoring record suggests.
McNulty was ready to take responsibility at Coventry and was one of the true leaders on the pitch. We all remember the penalty he scored against Notts County in the playoffs when the Sky Blues were 1-0 down.
What could be a reason for slight doubt and insecurity about his transfer is the fact he has virtually no experience at this level. He’s performed admirably in the lower leagues in England and Scotland, but you can’t really compare the Scottish Championship to the English one in terms of demands and competition.
Nevertheless, he seems like a good deal for Reading. He’s been a popular figure for all clubs he’s played for, possibly with the exception of Bradford and maybe Sheffield United.
McNulty would be hungry to prove himself in the second tier and Reading fans will be hoping he can continue the form he demonstrated at Coventry.