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Reading FC v Sheffield Wednesday FC: Match Preview

Reading return to Madejski Stadium after a 3 week absence for the visit of Sheffield Wednesday; Phil Owtram presents a preview of Saturday's action.

Michael Regan/Getty Images

Reading FC v Sheffield Wednesday FC
League Championship
Saturday 31st January, KO 3PM
Madejski Stadium
Referee: Brendan Malone

Reading (18th)
Form (all comps): DWLDW
Millwall v Reading: 0-0
Cardiff v Reading (FA Cup): 1-2
Fulham v Reading: 2-1
Reading v Middlesbrough: 0-0
Huddersfield v Reading (FA Cup): 0-1

Manager: Steve Clarke

A 0-0 draw against Millwall on Tuesday night heightened frustrations surrounding Madejski Stadium as the Royals continued to tread water in 18th place. Reading struggled to break down a Millwall side that played with 10 men for the whole of the second half. A lack of a cutting edge meant Reading came away from The Den with just a point after they couldn’t find a winner against the 22nd placed Lions. Steve Clarke was insistent on taking the positives from the game and it is certainly not a disastrous result against a side that defended well for most of the game. It was however another realisation that this is a transition season for Reading, as the club adjusts to new ownership and a new manager. Attentions now turn to the visit of Stuart Gray’s Sheffield Wednesday side for the first home game in 3 weeks since the 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough. Steve Clarke’s 3 home games so far read DWL and he will be hoping his side can put in some strong home performances between now and the end of the season.

Sheffield Wednesday (9th)
Form (all comps): DLWLW
Sheffield Wednesday v Birmingham: 0-0
Sheffield Wednesday v Bolton: 1-2
Nottingham Forest v Sheffield Wednesday: 0-2
Manchester City v Sheffield Wednesday (FA Cup): 2-1
Wigan v Sheffield Wednesday: 0-1

Manager: Stuart Gray

9th placed Sheffield Wednesday visit Madejski Stadium after a week which saw them acquire their own Thai owners as former chairman Milan Mandaric sold to a Thai consortium headed by businessman Dejphon Chansiri. There’s no doubt the new owners will have similar ambitions to their opponents on Saturday and that is a return to the Premier League; maybe the two consortiums will be able to compare notes on how hard that task can be. As for the football team their form has been mixed of late, with a couple of wins against Forest and Wigan, a couple of losses to Bolton and in the FA Cup to Manchester City and a draw in their most recent game against Birmingham. Despite sitting 9 places above Reading in the table, Stuart Gray’s side have only picked up 7 more points than their hosts which shows just how competitive the league is this season.

Last five meetings
20 Sep 2014 Sheffield W v Reading L 1-0 League Championship
08 Feb 2014 Reading v Sheffield W L 0-2 League Championship
02 Nov 2013 Sheffield W v Reading L 5-2 League Championship
27 Feb 2010 Reading v Sheffield W W 5-0 League Championship
05 Dec 2009 Sheffield W v Reading W 0-2 League Championship

Head to Head
These teams have only met seventeen times before in all competitions with Wednesday just edging the head to head record with 8 wins to Reading’s 7 with 2 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 twice while Wednesday have been victorious on the three other occasions. Two of those wins came last season when they did the double over the Royals winning 5-2 at home and then 2-0 at the Madjeski Stadium in February thanks to goals from Chris Maguire and Arsenal loanee (at the time) Benik Afobe. The game at Hillsborough in September also saw Wednesday take the spoils with a late winner from a deflected Stevie May free-kick after Glenn Murray had a penalty saved earlier in the game.

Team News
Reading: Chris Gunter’s ankle injury is worse than it first appeared and he is facing two weeks out, ruling him out of this one. Danny Guthrie is sidelined for the next 7 to 10 days with injury as rumours emerged that he could be allowed to leave Madejski Stadium with his contract up in the summer. Hope Akpan is edging closer to a return after a shoulder injury but this one will come too soon. Anton Ferdinand is also closing in on a return after several injury setbacks that have kept him out since November.

Sheffield Wednesday: Wednesday welcome back midfielder Sam Hutchinson from suspension and new signing Will Keane is fit again after having stitches on a cut eye. Joe Mattock and Lewis Buxton are also both fit enough to return to action.

Prediction: Reading 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday