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Reading v Blackpool: Match Preview

Reading welcome Blackpool to the Madejski Stadium on Saturday for what is a must win game for both sides. Phil Owtram looks ahead to the game with all the key information.

Jordan Mansfield

Reading v Blackpool
League Championship
Saturday 25th October 2014, KO 3PM
Madejski Stadium
Referee: Gavin Ward

Reading (17th)
Form (all comps): DDLLL
Bournemouth v Reading: 3-0
Reading v Derby: 0-3
Brentford v Reading: 3-1
Leeds v Reading: 0-0
Reading v Wolves: 3-3

It went from bad to worse for Nigel Adkins’ men at Bournemouth on Tuesday night. A horror 13 minute spell saw a fairly solid first half performance undone when Reading conceded 3 goals in 13 second half minutes and slipped to their third defeat in a row. Poor defending again cost the Royals and is an area under immense scrutiny as Nigel Adkins aims to keep spirits high in the squad. The visit of bottom of the table Blackpool couldn’t have come at a better time but further increases the pressure on the team to deliver a result to end Reading’s barren run without a win which now stretches to 7 games. Nigel Adkins will have the pressure ramped up even further should his side fail to beat Blackpool but it is important not to panic; Reading fans know better than anyone how form can change, with the 2011/12 season a prime example. Defending is clearly an issue and that area may need to be strengthened via the loan market with many realising that the strength of the Pearce/Morrison partnership was more key than first thought. McCleary is also an important player to get back - offering that cutting edge in forward areas that has been missing of late will give the team a boost no doubt. It is the part of the season to sit tight, hold onto your hats and rely on the key ingredient of football fandom: belief it will get better!

Blackpool (24th)
Form (all comps): LDWLL
Blackpool v Derby: 0-1
Huddersfield v Blackpool: 4-2
Blackpool v Cardiff: 1-0
Middlesbrough v Blackpool: 1-1
Blackpool v Norwich: 1-3

Struggling Blackpool arrive at Madejski Stadium bottom of the table but in better form than Reading over the last five matches. Boasting 4 points from 15 they have scored double the amount of points their Berkshire opponents have in the same period. Their last game against Derby resulted in a 1-0 home defeat and saw them stay rooted to the bottom of the table with 6 points from 13 games and 1 win all season.

Last five meetings
20 Feb 2010  Blackpool v Reading   L          2-0      League Championship
03 Dec 2011  Blackpool v Reading   L         1-0      League Championship
24 Mar 2012  Reading v Blackpool   W        3-1      League Championship
24 Aug 2013  Blackpool v Reading   L         1-0      League Championship
28 Jan 2014   Reading v Blackpool   W        5-1      League Championship

Head to Head
These teams have met 38 times before in all competitions and Reading have the slightly better record, winning 16 of their encounters with Blackpool winning 12 and 10 ending in a draw. Reading have not lost at home to Saturday’s opponents since 1980, a 1-0 defeat in the old third division. Reading have won 6 out of their last 10 meetings, including a 5-1 win at the Madejski in January after losing the away fixture 1-0.

Team News
Reading: Striker Glenn Murray is expected to be fit for the visit of Blackpool after shaking off a knock that ruled him out of the midweek game against Bournemouth. Danny Guthrie, Stephen Kelly, Anton Ferdinand and Garath McCleary all played 45 minutes of training game but are all short of match fitness.

Blackpool: Tony McMahon will miss Saturday’s game through suspension after he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Derby on Tuesday night. Joan Oriol, Jose Cubero, Gary MacKenzie and Steven Davies will also miss the game.

Prediction: Reading 1-0 Blackpool