Form (all competitions): LWDW
Reading are now beginning to hit form with that nervy but impressive win over Villa. Gareth McCleary and Roy Beerens made their first team returns and look to push for a starting spot. Mo Barrow’s recent performance is currently keeping one of them out with side.
The lack of a striker on Tuesday was a cause for concern by some fans prior to kick off but the gamble paid off. So much so that Steve Bruce blamed Villa’s defeat to a lack of strikers despite starting Scott Hogan and replacing him with Gabby Agbonlahor due to injury.
Stam could continue with this tactic or use a rested Joseph Mendes to lead the line. Away from home Reading did drop considerable points last season which dented their chance of top two last year. The Royals will hope to fix that away form and pick up their first away win of the season.
Top goalscorer: Liam Kelly, 3 (all comps)
Form (all competitions): WLDL
Preston have had a mixed start to the season as they beat Sheffield Wednesday at home on opening day before crashing out of the EFL cup to Accrington Stanley. They then drew with a strong Leeds team, and lost to Derby in mid-week via a penalty from former Reading striker Matej Vydra.
Preston possess a young but strong squad which is highlighted in Jack Simpson’s article on Three to Watch: which I recommend you have a read of. The main threat to look for is Jordan Hugill who is on two goals already. Preston edge Reading in goal difference currently to stay above them in the division. A win for either side propels them close to the play off places depending on results on the day.
Top goalscorer: Jordan Hugill, 2 (all comps)
What do the stats say?
· Preston are currently on a good streak against Reading winning three out of the last four matches.
· Reading have recorded an average 62.87% possession this season, which is a Championship-high.
· Preston have lost once at home in their past 12 league games since a defeat to Norwich in April.
Source: BBC Sport
What about the history?
Head to Head Since 1894
Reading wins: 20
Preston wins: 23
Last 5 meetings
- March 11th 2017 Preston 3 Reading 0
- August 6th 2016 Reading 1 Preston 0
- April 30th 2016 Reading 1 Preston 2
- December 12th 2015 Preston 1 Reading 0
- April 5th 2011 Reading 2 Preston 1
Classic match: Reading 2-1 Preston April 5th 2011
A Hal Robson-Kanu bundled finish helped secure a late win for Reading (yes this is the same player who would produce a Cruyff turn goal in Euro 2016!). Reading technically scored all three on the night with Jimmy Kebe finding the net early, Alex McCarthy letting in an own goal and Robson Kanu grabbing the late winner. It was not a gripping classic to look back on but it helped push Reading to Play Off contention that season (which we don't talk about after the Cardiff game).
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 no video coverage will be streaming the game. Full match highlights will be available on the app after the match.
Reading Football Club will post highlights of the game on their social media pages and YouTube channel.
This will be a stern test for Reading as Preston are very difficult to defeat at home in recent trips. However the tide is beginning to turn due to the squad clicking at a good point in the season. But I expect there will be goals in this result but personally don't see a winner.
A draw or lose would signal to the owners that we do need another striker before the window closes. A win however could be a massive boost for morale but I am sure Stam is hoping to bring new recruits in the next few weeks.
Preston North End 1-1 Reading