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Reading v Derby: Match Preview

The Royals return to the Madejski Stadium looking for 3 points after five matches without a win. Phil Owtram previews the action.

Jan Kruger

Derby County v Reading
League Championship
Saturday 18th October 2014, KO 3PM
Madejski Stadium
Darren Deadman

Reading (13th)

Form (all comps): LDDLL
Brentford v Reading: 3-1
Leeds v Reading: 0-0
Reading v Wolves: 3-3
Derby v Reading (league cup): 2-0
Sheffield Wednesday v Reading: 1-0

League football returns to the Madejski Stadium after the international break with Reading looking to improve on the form which took them into the international period. Without a win in five matches, the Royals will be hoping that a return to their home ground will enable them to restore that winning feeling after their two previous games away from home yielded one point. Their last game, a 3-1 defeat away to Brentford was particularly disappointing from a defensive point of view where poor Reading defending saw the Royals concede two goals in the first half. A Simon Cox goal early in the second half gave momentum to the away team but they were killed off when Brentford scored a third to seal the three points.  Reading had a number of first team players out on international duty, including Alex Pearce, Chris Gunter, Jake Taylor, Hal Robson-Kanu, Adam Federici, Oliver Norwood and Hope Akpan a roundup of which can be found on The Tilehurst End.  The international break will have given some of the players not involved in international games to catch a breather in what is a hectic season in terms of games and the Royals will be hoping to also get some of the injured players back into first team action as soon as possible.

Derby County (4th)
Form (all comps): DWWWD
Derby v Millwall: 0-0
Derby v Bournemouth: 2-0
Bolton v Derby: 0-2
Derby v Reading (League cup): 2-0
Derby v Cardiff: 2-2

In comparison to Reading, Derby have been in exceptional form recently winning three out of their last five games before the international break. Their last game was a 0-0 draw against Millwall at the iPro stadium meaning the Rams missed the chance to go top of the table. That result also meant Derby are unbeaten in their last 10 games, 6 of which have been wins. Derby also had a number of players on international duty: Will Hughes scored in the second leg of England’s U-21 victory over Croatia; Jamie Ward also scored in Northern Ireland’s 2-0 away victory in Euro 2016 qualifying against Greece; Chris Martin, Craig Bryson and Craig Forysth were all on the bench for Scotland’s 2-2 draw against Poland with Martin making a 71st minute substitute appearance; Jeff Kendrick came off the bench for the Republic of Ireland and played a key part in the goal which saw them steal a point in a 1-1 against World Champions Germany.

Last five meetings
18 Oct 2011   Reading v Derby County      D         2-2      League Championship
14 Feb 2012  Derby County v Reading      W        0-1      League Championship
21 Sep 2013  Derby County v Reading      W        1-3      League Championship
15 Mar 2014  Reading v Derby County      D         0-0      League Championship
23 Sep 2014  Derby County v Reading      L          2-0      Capital One Cup

Head to Head
These teams have previously met 35 times in all competitions and it is Reading that have the far better record winning on 20 occasions to Derby’s 9 with 6 ending in a draw. The two teams met very recently in the league cup when Derby ran out 2-0 winners and dumped Reading out of the competition at the third round stage. Their previous meetings in the league last season ended in a 0-0 draw at the Madejski Stadium in March after the Royals had beaten the Rams 3-1 at the iPro earlier in the campaign . County have not beaten Reading in the league since 2009 when they recorded a 2-1 win at Pride Park, in contrast to the Royals who have won 6 out of their last 10 matches against The Rams.

Team News
Reading: Hope Akpan, who only returned from playing for Nigeria yesterday will be assessed ahead of the game but may not be risked. Danny Guthrie is still struggling with a hamstring injury. Jem Karacan is edging closer to a return from injury but will not make this one. Aaron Tshibola has stepped up his recovery but the game comes too soon for Garath McCleary, Anton Ferdinand and Craig Tanner, While Shaun Cummings and Danny Williams are still long-term absentees.

Derby: Midfielder Richard Keogh is struggling with a hamstring injury picked up playing for the Republic of Ireland and will be assessed ahead of the game. Jake Buxton is expected to be back in the squad following a hip injury while Liverpool loanee Jordan Ibe is also available after missing England U-20s four nations tournament with a groin problem.

Prediction: Reading 1-0 Derby