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Reading v Wolves: Match Preview

Reading face Wolves at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday in their first televised game of the season. Phil Owtram provides a preview of the game.

Dan Mullan

Reading v Wolves
League Championship
Sunday 28th September 2014, KO 1:15PM
Madejski Stadium
Referee: James Adcock

Reading (11th)

Form (all comps): WWWLL
Middlesbrough v Reading: 0-1
Reading v Fulham: 3-0
Reading v Millwall: 3-2
Sheffield Wednesday v Reading: 1-0
Derby v Reading (league cup): 2-0

Defeat to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday and Tuesday nights league cup defeat at the hands of Derby County brought Readings winning streak to an abrupt halt. The Royals had previously won four games on the trot but their up and down form seems to have taken a turn for the worse with two defeats in four days. However, the Royals will not be downhearted because they were in the same situation just over a month ago when they face Scunthorpe in the league cup after two defeats in four days against Huddersfield and Nottingham Forest. The win against Scunthorpe sparked the four game unbeated run with Reading playing some attractive attacking football. Reading came up against a good side in Derby and their hosts played some good football at times and probably on balance deserved to win the game. It could have been a different story if Jamie Mackie had converted when through on goal in the first half but his shot was straight at keeper Kelle Roos. The match did see Danny Guthrie and Hal Robson-Kanu play 72 and 76 minutes respectively as they both make strides towards full fitness and this will give Nigel Adkins a boost in terms of his options going into this weekend’s game against Wolves. Sunday’s opponents are making their first appearance at the Madjeski since January 2009 when they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat thanks to an own goal by Neill Collins in the second minute of the game. Mikkel Andersen was on the bench that day and he will continue his run in the side if Adam Federici fails to recover from the minor calf injury which has kept him out of Reading’s last two games. The Danish keeper has impressed, despite conceding three goals in the last two games, making some key saves and showing that the Royals production of quality goalkeepers continues to go from strength to strength.

Wolves (3rd)

Form (all comps): WWDDW
Wolves v Cardiff: 1-0
Wolves v Blackburn: 3-1
Blackpool v Wolves: 0-0
Charlton v Wolves: 1-1
Wolves v Bolton: 1-0

Third placed Wolves were not in cup action in midweek due to their first round defeat at home to Northampton Town but do sit one point off the top and level on points with Norwich in second. They warmed up for this one by defeating Bolton 1-0 at Molineux thanks to a goal from Nouha Dicko and will bring with them the best defensive record in all four divisions when they visit the Madejski Stadium on Sunday. The win against Bolton extended their unbeaten run this season to six games and extends their unbeaten run at home in the league to sixteen games. Their last defeat at home was against MK Dons in December 2013. Away from home this season Wolves are unbeaten in three since their defeat to Rotherham in August, their only away defeat so far, while last season they only lost four games away from Molineux.

Last five meetings
30 Apr 2005  Reading v Wolves     L          1-2      League Championship
26 Dec 2005  Wolves v Reading     W        0-2      League Championship
18 Mar 2006  Reading v Wolves     D         1-1      League Championship
30 Sep 2008  Wolves v Reading     W        0-3      League Championship
27 Jan 2009   Reading v Wolves     W        1-0      League Championship

Head to Head
With 36 league and cup meetings it is Wolves that edge the head to head record with 16 wins to Reading’s 15 with 5 ending in a draw. The first match between these two teams was in the 1909/10 FA Cup when Wolves, the away team, put five past the Royals to seal victory. Their first league meeting came in the old second division in 1926 and was a much closer affair, ending in a 1-1 draw. The most recent meetings have been dominated by Reading with three wins in the last five matches between the sides. However, Reading’s win at Molineux in December 2005 brought an end to a run of five straight defeats against the West-Midlands side that had seen the Royals not avoid defeat against Wolves since March 2003. April 2005 was the last time Wolves went away with three points from the Madejski during the Royals famous record-breaking promotion season when they won 2-1 thanks to goals from Leon Clarke and Rohan Ricketts.  

Team News
Reading: Oliver Norwood and Glenn Murray will return to the side after being cup tied for the midweek league cup defeat to Derby. Danny Guthrie and Hal Robson-Kanu returned from injury to return to the starting line-up against Derby and Nigel Adkins should have them at his disposal this weekend. Mikkel Andersen is on stand-by if Adam Federici fails to recover from a calf injury that has kept him out of Reading's last two games. Stephen Kelly played for the U-21s last week as he too continues his recovery and could be involved. As for the longer term absentees Anton Ferdinand suffered a setback in his recovery from a hamstring problem which means he is still a couple of weeks away. Aaron Tshibola, Craig Tanner, Danny Williams, Garath McCleary and Shaun Cummings will not return in the foreseeable future as they battle long term injuries. As for Jem Karacan, after suffering a minor setback he is making good progress in his recovery from a knee injury suffered in September 2013 and is looking to be available by the end of October.

Wolves: Nouha Dicko tweaked a hamstring playing against Bolton but Kenny Jackett is hopeful he will recover in time for Sunday’s game. If he doesn’t recover in time then Leon Clarke will be standing by to replace him after making a substitute appearance on Saturday. Ex-Reading players James Henry and Scott Golbourne are likely to line up against their former employers after both have impressed so far this season.

Phil's prediction: Reading 1-1 Wolves