Reading FC Match Preview - May 7 - Derby County (H)
Where are Derby in the Championship? 19th
Recent form? Pretty terrible, just one win in eight games has seen the Rams slip to just above the drop zone, though they're safe from relegation.
Last time we played them? We won 2-1 at Pride Park with Shane Long busting out of his first half slump in dramatic fashion with two goals
Any former Royals? Nope not today, though Andy Griffin will be taking on his former team.
Any other business? It's the final home game of the season so the lads will be doing a lap of appreciation at the final whistle, it's also the final game for Rams midfielder Robbie Savage who's retiring after this game. Oh and it's a 12.45pm kick-off!
Tilehurst End Thoughts In Brief
So here we are, some nine months after Scunthorpe visited the Madejski Stadium for our league opener, Derby County come to Berkshire to close the league season. Of course it's not the final game of Reading's season as we have the play-offs to look forward too, so the Reading players and staff won't quite be in holiday mode quite yet.
The result of this game could still prove very important as the Royals can still finish anywhere between 4th and 6th, which will affect our opposition and home advantage for the play-offs. Beyond that it's important that Reading get back into the winning habit after three games without a win and just two goals scored.
Derby have had a fairly miserable season, with the good will generated by Nigel Clough's appointment two years ago running out. The Rams have struggled in their two season's since relegation from the Premier League and the Pride Park team could finish as low as 21st should they lose today. One thing that's kept Rams fans interested in tomorrow's game is that it will be the final game for the player everyone loves to hate, Robbie Savage. The former Leicester and Birmingham midfielder has announced he'll retire after tomorrow's game after a colourful career and is likely to get a good send off from both sets of fans.
Historically we've got a good record at home to Derby over the years, with the Royals winning 10 of the last 11 meetings, including clinching the Championship title five years ago with a 5-0 demolition in the sunshine at the Madejski Stadium. Last year saw Reading come out 4-1 winners in a game most remembered for the aforementioned Mr Savage having to step in as goalkeeper after an injury to Derby's first choice keeper and a red card for their substitute.
Despite having league position to play for, boss Brian McDermott has said he's going to rest players with Shane Long and Noel Hunt being rested for Manset and Simon Church. Jimmy Kebe is also missing from the squad tomorrow as he is still recovering from a knock suffered in the run up to the Leeds game over Easter.
It's been an up and down season for the Royals but lets hope we can finish with a flurry and finish the season as strong as possible, going into two of the biggest games in our history.