With the festive season now in full swing, Jaap Stam’s Royals will be looking to gift the Berkshire faithful with an early Christmas present in the form of a victory over Neil Warnock’s in-form Cardiff City.
Form (all comps): LDDWW
Due to forces both in and out of his control, Jaap Stam tinkered with his line-up in each of his first twenty games this season. However, the Dutchman now goes into Monday night’s clash against Cardiff with the possible luxury of naming an unchanged side for the fourth consecutive league game.
There are no fresh injury concerns in the aftermath of last week’s impressive victory at the Stadium of Light, meaning that the Royals may have the chance to build on the growing sense of consistency developing around the team, who are now unbeaten in four.
Form (all comps): LWWWW
Even though his Bluebirds are soaring up the Championship table, Neil Warnock will have reasons to be fearful ahead of Monday’s trip down the M4 to the Mad Stad. No club have had more success against the Yorkshireman than the Royals, to whom Warnock has experienced defeat on no fewer than 16 occasions.
But his second-placed Cardiff side will arrive in Berkshire in a rich vein of form. Having won their last four in the league, they will be able to close the gap on the leaders Wolves to just two points with victory in Berkshire on Monday, following their slip-up yesterday against Sunderland.
They will have to do so however without top-scorer Kenneth Zohore, who this week was ruled out for at least the rest of the calendar year. Longer term absentees Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Aron Gunnarsson will also be unavailable for the game.
The loss of Zohore is a big one, so it will be interesting to see how Cardiff approach the game on Monday night. They are undoubtedly going to be a tough proposition for the Royals to try and compete with, as demonstrated by the impressive display against Norwich last weekend.
However, with Reading beginning to find some rhythm of their own, with six goals in their last two games, this may be closer than it looks on paper.
Royals 1-1 Bluebirds
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