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Brentford v Reading: Match Preview

Reading make the short trip to Griffin Park on Saturday to face Brentford; Phil Owtram previews the action.

Ben Hoskins

Brentford v Reading
League Championship
Saturday 4th October 2014, KO 3PM
Griffin Park
Referee: Roger East

Reading (10th)
Form (all comps): DDLLW
Leeds v Reading: 0-0
Reading v Wolves: 3-3
Derby v Reading (league cup): 2-0
Sheffield Wednesday v Reading: 1-0
Reading v Millwall: 3-2

It’s a quick turnaround for Reading after extending their unbeaten run against Leeds to nine games on Wednesday night with a 0-0 draw at Elland Road. It was a frustrating night for the Royals who couldn’t find a way past Marco Silvestri in the Leeds goal but also restricted Leeds to just one shot on target, from Billy Sharp six minutes from the end. Reading were the better side for most of the 90 minutes and it took some good goalkeeping to keep out first Nick Blackman with a low shot which was pushed away by Silvestri, then a tame Simon Cox shot and a header from Glenn Murray were both saved by the Leeds goalkeeper. Billy Sharp’s low drive on 84 minutes was well held by Federici in what was a quiet night for the Australian who will join up with his international counterparts over the upcoming international break for games against the U.A.E and Qatar. The Royals will feel aggrieved at not taking 3 points after they had three good penalty shouts waved away by referee Tony Harrington. The result extended Reading's winless run to four matches and they must look ahead to an away match against Brentford, a side they have not faced for over 12 years, to restore that winning feeling. The Royals travel to Griffin Park looking for only their second win away from home in the league this season. Games on their travels have yielded 5 points from a possible 15 with three goals scored, most recently in their 1-0 win at Middlesbrough. However, the Royals will believe they can put in a good performance against a side that has started well in the Championship following promotion from League One last season.

Brentford (13th)
Form (all comps): LWLLW
Watford v Brentford: 2-1
Brentford v Leeds: 2-0
Middlesbrough v Brentford: 4-0
Brentford v Norwich: 0-3
Brentford v Brighton: 3-2

Brentford beat Reading’s midweek opponents, Leeds, in their last game at Griffin Park on Saturday. A 2-0 win for the hosts was secured thanks to goals from Ramallo Jota on the stroke of half time and Alan McCormack 13 minutes from the end. They travelled to Watford in midweek and were on the losing end of a 2-1 score line where a Jonathan Douglas goal for the visitors was not enough to get them anything from the game. The Bees have started well in their first return to English football’s second tier since the 1992/93 season accumulating 14 points from their first 10 games. This leaves them in 13th position in the Championship table, one point and three places below Reading in 10th. Brentford had one of the best home records in the division last season, winning 19 of their 23 home matches and they have carried that form into this season only losing once so far to Norwich City. The West London side sold Adam Forshaw, last year’s League One player of the season, to Wigan for £3m but reinvested the money in signing Moses Odubajo from Leyton Orient, Andre Gray from Luton and Scott Hogan from Rochdale plus Alex Pritchard on loan from Tottenham. The new signings have hit the ground running with Odubajo scoring twice so far this season while Pritchard has notched one goal so far. However, it is fellow new signing Andre Gray who leads this seasons scoring charts for Brentford alongside Stuart Dallas, both have 3 goals.

Last five meetings
20 Apr 2002  Brentford v Reading D         1-1      League Division 2
27 Oct 2001  Reading v Brentford L          1-2      League Division 2
10 Feb 2001 Brentford v Reading W        1-2      League Division 2
09 Sep 2000  Reading v Brentford W        4-0      League Division 2
11 Mar 2000  Reading v Brentford W        1-0      League Division 2

Head to Head
This will be the 85th meeting of these two teams in all competitions and it is Reading who hold the superior record. The Royals have won on 34 occasions, lost on 27 and drawn on a further 23. Their last meeting was a memorable one, Jamie Cureton scored in a 1-1 draw which was enough to see Reading promoted to Division One at the expense of Brentford. In terms of other recent matches between the two teams, Reading have fared well only losing three of their last ten meetings with four wins and three draws. Their last victory at Griffin Park came in 2001 when they met in Division Two and Reading ran out 2-1 winners thanks to goals from Phil Parkinson and Sammy Igoe.

Team News
Reading: Danny Williams and Garath McCleary have stepped up their recoveries from long term injury, both returned to the training pitches this week but they trained away from the rest of the squad and won’t return to the first team until after the international break. Hal Robson-Kanu came on as a 75th minute substitute against Leeds and looks to be edging towards full fitness. Danny Guthrie also made a substitute appearance at Elland Road as he looks to shake off a niggling calf injury. Stephen Kelly is close to returning but Anton Ferdinand, Jem Karacan Aaron Tshibola, and Craig Tanner will all miss out and will more likely return towards the end of October. Shaun Cummings has a long-term injury and has no set return date.

Brentford: The two Alan’s, Judge and McCormack have both been passed fit to face the Royals after picking up knocks in Tuesday’s defeat to Watford. Stuart Dallas faces a late fitness test as he looks to overcome a thigh problem. Nico Yennaris and Tommy Smith are both closing in on a return to the squad after spells on the sidelines. Richard Lee has recovered from a shoulder injury but won’t be available for Saturday’s game and it also comes too soon for Sam Saunders who is due to resume training next week after a long-term knee injury.

Phil’s prediction: Brentford 1-1 Reading