Reading travel to Hillsborough on Saturday looking to avoid being the first team Sheffield Wednesday beat at home in the league this season. Despite the failure to win at home the Owls lie just two places below the Royals and have only been beaten by the league leaders Nottingham Forest.
Wednesday's progress under Stuart Gray is shown by their much improved defence this season. Last season they only managed ten clean sheets in the league. So far this campaign they already have four and two more in the League Cup.
Summer signing Tom Lees has been key to this new found solidity. No player in the league has made more interceptions than the former Leeds defender.
Wednesday have so far used a 4-4-2 formation this season. Their central midfielders tend to sit deep with their full backs looking to support their wide men. Their front duo, of Atdhe Nuhiu and Stevie May, rarely drop deep so Hope Akpan and Oliver Norwood may look to sit just in front of the defence in the hope of isolating Wednesday's strikeforce.
They are joint first in the league for time in the opposition’s half but have so far only scored three times from open play. Reading’s victories over Ipswich and Middlesbrough show they can handle pressure but they may once again be looking for Simon Cox to help out in midfield. If they struggle to bring the summer signing into play then they could become too reliant on launching attacks from deep.
Wednesday's action zones this season
The first 20 minutes on Tuesday showed how dangerous Reading can be on the counter attack but against the Owls they will be up against the second best defence in the league. This is built on the league’s most effective offside trap meaning Reading will have to do better at timing their runs. Only Middlesbrough have been caught offside more times than the Royals (20).
Wednesday's games have tended to be low scoring with the exception of their away win up at Middlesbrough. They will pose a threat from set pieces and old saying that the "first goal will be crucial" may be especially true on Saturday as neither team has lost after scoring first.
|Reading||Sheff Weds||Reading||Sheff Weds||Reading||Sheff Weds|
|Against top half of the table||3||1||2||1||1|
|Against bottom half of the table||1||2||1||1||1|
|When scoring first||4||3||1|
|When conceding first||1||2||1|
|Average Passing Accuracy||73%||73%|
|Goals from Open Play||7||3|
|Goals from Counter Attacks||0||0|
|Goals from Set Pieces||3||4|
Reading: Simon Cox - 4 in 7 matches
Sheffield Wednesday: Stevie May - 2 in 6 matches
Reading: Jordan Obita - 2 in 7 matches
Sheffield Wednesday: Jacques Maghoma / Atdhe Nuhiu - 2 in 7 matches