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Reading v Millwall: Match Preview

Reading face Millwall at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday evening in their second home game in the space of a week. Phil Owtram assesses both teams ahead of the Championship clash.

Jordan Mansfield

Reading v Millwall
Tuesday 16th September 2014, KO 8PM
Madejski Stadium
Referee: Keith Hill

Reading (9th)

Form (all comps): LLWWW

Reading v Huddersfield: 1-2
Nottingham Forest v Reading: 4-0
Scunthorpe v Reading (league cup): 0-1
Middlesbrough v Reading: 0-1
Reading v Fulham: 3-0

Reading continued their current good form when they beat Fulham 3-0 at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday in a match which saw debutant Glenn Murray bag two goals before Nick Blackman rounded off the scoring, adding a third late on. Saturday’s win means the Royals are unbeaten in three league and cup games and confidence is high going into Tuesday night’s match against 7th placed Millwall. Nigel Adkins has managed to gel together his new signings and the younger players he has fast-tracked to the starting line-up to create an exciting team. With players also to come back from injury optimism around the club is starting to grow and once the takeover is finally confirmed the uncertainty that has surrounded the club for so long will finally be lifted. There is a sense that more is achievable than anyone could have considered possible at the start of the season and that this group of players can push for dare I say it, promotion. But it is easy to get ahead of ourselves, football is a game of highs and lows dictated by results and it is easy to get expectant when the team puts a string of good results together. However, the squad seems to have a good balance to it with strength in depth which is so vitally needed to have a successful season and we have a proven goalscorer at this level in Murray. It is still important to be realistic; it remains a young squad in which a number are experiencing regular football at this level for the first time and therefore will make mistakes and outstanding performances may not come every week but what we can say for certain is there is hope (not Akpan), arguably the most vital ingredient in football.

Millwall (7th)

Form (all comps): DLLWL

Sheffield Wednesday v Millwall: 1-1
Millwall v Rotherham: 0-1
Millwall v Southampton (League Cup): 0-2
Millwall v Blackpool: 2-1
Ipswich v Millwall: 2-0

Millwall started the season in fantastic form winning their first three games in all competitions but their last five matches have yielded just one win, against lowly Blackpool. A draw away to Sheffield Wednesday was followed by two successive home defeats to Rotherham and Southampton in the League Cup. This was followed with a win at home to Blackpool and another defeat to Ipswich at Portman Road on Saturday. The lions added mainly free transfers to their squad over the summer but they did include Ricardo Fuller, Carlos Edwards and former Everton man Magaye Gueye while striker Lee Gregory was bought from Halifax for an undisclosed fee. This followed the release of nine senior players at the end of last season while Andy Marshall retired.

Last five meetings

22 Feb 2011  Reading v Millwall     W        2-1      League Championship
06 Aug 2011  Reading v Millwall     D         2-2      League Championship
03 Mar 2012  Millwall v Reading     W        1-2      League Championship
26 Oct 2013   Reading v Millwall     D         1-1      League Championship
01 Feb 2014  Millwall v Reading     W        0-3      League Championship

Head to Head
These teams have met 86 times before in all competitions the first of which was on 31st October 1925 in the old Division Three (South) when Reading won 2-0 at Elm Park. The most recent meeting was at The Den in February when the Royals ran out 3-0 winners thanks to goals from Pogrebnyak, Pearce and Williams. Last season’s game at the Madejski ended in a 1-1 draw after Sean Morrison’s goal was cancelled out by a 90th minute Liam Trotter penalty. Reading have a good recent record against Millwall winning six of the last nine meetings. You have to go back to August 2004 for the last time Millwall beat Reading winning 1-0 at The Den. You then have to go back to January 2001 for the last time Millwall won away to Reading when they recorded a 4-3 win at the Madejski Stadium in the old second division.

Team News

Reading: The Royals are still without Shaun Cummings who has had an operation on his knee and will be out for some time. Garath McCleary, Danny Williams and Jem Karacan have also got some way to go before being available for selection but Danny Guthrie is back in training and should be available soon. Others to have stepped up their training are Stephen Kelly and Hal Robson-Kanu while Nick Blackman and Pavel Porgrebnyak are likely to be involved after coming on in the win over Fulham. Aaron Tshibola is still some weeks away while Anton Ferdinand has damaged his hamstring putting his debut back a few weeks.

Millwall: Winger Lee Martin suffered a knee ligament injury in training and could be out until November. Striker Lee Gregory (hip), midfielder Nicky Bailey (Calf) and defender Sid Nelson will also miss the trip to the Madejski.  Angel Martinez comes into the squad and is available for Tuesdays match after signing on a free transfer while Ed Upson is also available after recovering from a hamstring injury to come on as a substitute against Ipswich at the weekend.