Reading face another team formerly of the Premier League member in the form of Middlesbrough. Since their first top flight meeting in August 2006, both teams have experienced mixed fortunes and now meet again in the Championship with similar fates. Both Reading and ‘Boro fans would say their sides are under-performing this season despite big investment to their squads.
Jaap Stam and Garry Monk are both facing pressure to change their style of play or risking their losing their job, so this game can be viewed as turning point for each team.
Form (all competitions) - DLLWL
It’s the same old story on the injury front, but Yann Kermorgant could be fit enough to make the bench after being involved in full match training this week. He and a certain Sam Smith are the only fit and recognised strikers available for the game, with Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Joseph Mendes sidelinded. Garath McCleary is also facing a spell out, so this could force Jaap Stam to look at players like Pelle Clement and Adrian Popa to fill the gaps in the squad.
The Sheffield United defeat could force Stam to rethink the formation after being exposed in defence and no presence up front. However, he is not one to completely revamp his methods so there will be plenty of playing from the back.
Top goal scorer: Liam Kelly, 4
Form (all competitions) - DDDLL
After crashing out of the pristine Carabao Cup, Boro will have the majority of their squad fully rested and fit. The main danger man is their record signing Britt Assombalonga who has caused Reading problems during his time at Nottingham Forest. However, he and ‘Boro fans would admit that his current goal tally of six is underwhelming for a player who cost £15 million this summer.
Most of the focus on the build-up is about Gary Monk’s future as the team is dropping down the table at an alarming rate. However, they do possess talent and experience in the squad with players like Adama Traore and Stewart Downing able to come off the bench and cause problems.
Top goal scorer: Britt Assombalonga, 6
What do the stats say?
- Reading have scored all their goals from inside the box this season making them the highest scoring Championship side in that regard (11).
- Reading have only scored one first half goal in the Championship this season.
- Middlesbrough have failed to score in six of their past eight league games against the Royals (W2 D2 L4).
What about the history?
Head to Head Since 1894 (Source 11v11)
Classic Meeting- Reading vs Middlesbrough 19th August 2006 Barclays Premier League
One of the most historic games in Reading’s history for a few reasons. They made their Premier League debut after 135 years of being formed in front of the home fans. They faced a Middlesbrough side who had finished runners up in the UEFA cup and reached the Semi Final of the FA cup the previous year. Reading looked to be in trouble early after goals from Stewart Downing and Yakubu (Remember him?) But the record breaking championship side rallied and came from behind through goals from Dave Kitson, Steve Sidwell & Leroy Lita to seal victory. The fairy tale would continue that season with Reading finishing a staggering 8th place at the end of the campaign.
How can I follow the game?
Audio coverage is on BBC Radio Berkshire at 104.4, but not available online. Coverage is also available on the EFL iFollow service but not video coverage will be streaming the game. Full match highlights will be available on the app after the game
Reading Football Club will post highlights of the game on their respected social media pages and YouTube channel
A game that could bring new life into the season with both teams desperately wanting to get 3 points. Reading have the home advantage and with Middlesbrough current form could grind out a low scoring win or draw. However Middlesbrough have rested the majority of their squad midweek so do hold the fitness advantage and a passionate away end. However I just see Reading nicking a win through any means neccasry but can't see it being a classic but we shall see on match day!