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Sheffield Wednesday v Reading: Match Preview

The Royals travel to Sheffield Wednesday looking for their fifth successive victory, Phil Owtram assesses both teams ahead of the game.

Laurence Griffiths

Sheffield Wednesday v Reading
Saturday 20th September 2014, KO 3PM
Hillsborough Stadium
Referee: Mark Heywood

Reading (6th)
Form (all comps): LWWWW
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

A scintillating match against Millwall at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday night saw the Royals extend their winning run to four matches as they recorded a 3-2 victory over the lions thanks to a penalty from Nick Blackman and a brace from Simon Cox. After fellow new signing Glenn Murray’s double against Fulham a few days earlier it is clear the new boys are finding their feet pretty quickly and Tuesday’s result helped Reading climb into the play-off positions, four points behind Nottingham Forest in top spot. While this was their fourth win in a row in all competitions for Reading it was also their sixth in nine games in all competitions this season which makes pretty good reading for a side that was decimated by injuries before new recruits were finally brought in. The Royals will now look to extend their winning run to five matches when they take on Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday afternoon. Despite their overall form this season being good, Reading’s away record this season is DLW with an opening day draw away to Wigan preceding defeat to Nottingham Forest and the victory at the Riverside against Middlesbrough. The Royals will look to the away win at Middlesbrough to kick-start a similar away match run to the one they went on last season which saw them remain unbeaten for six matches of which they won five in the February to April period.

Sheffield Wednesday (8th)

Form (all comps): WWLDW
Middlesbrough v Sheffield Wednesday: 2-3
Burnley v Sheffield Wednesday (league cup): 0-1
Sheffield Wednesday v Nottingham Forest: 0-1
Bolton v Sheffield Wednesday: 0-0
Birmingham v Sheffield Wednesday: 0-2

Wednesday have won three of their last five matches and come into this one on the back of a confidence boosting 2-0 away win at Birmingham City thanks to goals from Stevie May and substitute Jeremy Helan. One point and two places behind the Royals in 8th position the Hillsborough-based side have not won at home since a 1-0 success against Brighton in March and have lost three of their last five home matches. Despite this, their last three home matches this season have yielded two draws against Derby County and Millwall and most recently a 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest.

In terms of summer transfer business the Owls sold former-Royal Michail Antonio to Nottingham Forest for £1.5m and 12 players were released or left on free transfers. Incomings included Reading’s Royston Drenthe(loan), Tom Lees from Leeds (Undisclosed fee), Kieron Westwood from Sunderland (free), Sam Hutchinson from Chelsea (free) and former Olympiakos player Claude Dielna (free).   

Last five meetings

03 Mar 2009  Sheffield W v Reading          W        1-2      League Championship
05 Dec 2009  Sheffield W v Reading          W        0-2      League Championship
27 Feb 2010  Reading v Sheffield W          W        5-0      League Championship
02 Nov 2013  Sheffield W v Reading          L          5-2      League Championship
08 Feb 2014  Reading v Sheffield W          L          0-2      League Championship

Head to Head
These teams have only met sixteen times before in all competitions and they are level in head to head terms with both sides recording seven victories down the years and two fixtures ending in a draw. Their first meeting was in the 1928/29 FA Cup when Reading as the home side won 1-0. This was their only meeting until almost exactly 37 years later when they were again paired in the 1965/66 FA cup again with Reading as the home team but this time Wednesday ran out 3-2 winners. In more recent times, the last five matches between these two sides have seen Reading win three times and Wednesday twice. Both of those wins can last season when they did the double over the Royals winning 5-2 at home and then 2-0 at the Madejski Stadium in February thanks to goals from Chris Maguire and Arsenal loanee at the time Benik Afobe.

Team News
Reading: Danny Guthrie and Stephen Kelly are both nearing a return after playing in a friendly match this week. Both players played 45 minutes against Stevenage at Hogwood Park on Tuesday and should be back in action soon. Hal Robson-Kanu trained on the Madejski Stadium pitch after the conclusion of the match against Millwall before working on his fitness on the pitches at Hogwood Park on Thursday but will not be reading for Saturday’s match. As for the longer term absentees Anton Ferdinand, Aaron Tshibola, Craig Tanner, Danny Williams, Garath McCleary , Jem Karacan and Shaun Cummings will definitely not return before October.

Sheffield Wednesday: Royston Drenthe will sit this one out due to the terms of his loan agreement with his parent club.  Dejan Kelhar has a long term knee ligament injury and will not feature on Saturday but otherwise Stuart Gray has a fully fit squad to choose from.

Phil’s prediction: Sheffield Wednesday 1-2 Reading