The games come thick and fast for the Royals and tonight they hope to break the hearts of Rams fans in Derby! Ahead of tonight's Championship clash Derby fan Pete Odgers, gives us his view on his team's season so far and what Reading fans should watch out for.
How has Derby's season gone so far?
To be honest I thought with our small and inexperienced squad we would be around the lower echelons of the table this season. But a terrific back 5 has enabled us to grind out a few results, and go on a couple of decent winning runs. We are certainly harder to beat than we were last season, although the play off will most likely be beyond us.
Who are you tipping for promotion/relegation?
For promotion, at the start of the season I said West Ham, Southampton and Middleborough, and I think the only change I would make from that is maybe switch Birmingham in for Boro. Hughton has done a terrific job there. It will be close though, and the Royals are in with a decent shout.
The teams drew 2-2 at the Madejski earlier in the season, what's changed about Derby since then?
Not too much to be honest. Due to the back four all being fit, we have started to look a lot more solid at the back. New loan signing Tom Carroll has come into the side, and everyone is hoping that he will enable the Rams to play a more pass and move style of football......Not that we were hoof ball merchants before that.
Reading fans have been pleased with the impact of Tomasz Cywka at the club, how did Derby fans view the transfer?
It split a lot of fans. Many felt he was a good young player with flair (something which Derby have severely lacked this season), on his day he can make a mug out of top championship defenders. But Clough felt he wasn't a team player, and that he struggled to follow manager's orders. Those that back the manager believe off loading him was a good idea, those that don't fully back the manager believe the decision to let him go could come back to bite us. Most fans wished him all the best though.
Is Clough still popular with the Rams fans?
As written above, there are some fans that still see him doing no wrong. But I think the majority are still unsure. Whilst many are happy with there being stability at the helm of the club, the turnover of players, particularly his signings, has been quite high, and not that much progress has been made in the time he has been here. Having said all that, he has got rid of a lot of the dead wood, and cut what was our ridiculously high wage bill almost in half. And because of the Clough name, his job should be safe for a while yet.
Who should Reading fans fear tonight?
Winger Jamie Ward has been our only bright spark moving forward, in what is a bit of a limited attacking frontline. There's a lot of excitement about Spurs loanee Tom Carroll, but with it being his home debut, the rams fans don't know too much about what he can do at this level. Generally you should fear our mean back five (keeper included).
Who are Derby wary of?
Jason Roberts seems to have started well for you guys. Jimmy Kebe is always a threat, and obviously, knowing what he can do to defenses, Cywka could come back to haunt us.
Very tough one to call, as it is our first home league game for a while. I also feel we are due a win. Having said that, you guys are bang in form. I'll go for a conservative 1-1 draw.
Thanks again to Pete and we'll have a full match report up after the game here on The Tilehurst End