Reading FC v Millwall, Carabao Cup 2nd Round
Madejski Stadium, 8pm KO
After a mixed bag of league results this week, the Royals return to Carabao Cup action against Championship rivals Millwall on Tuesday night. Reading fans will be hoping to see much more of the pacy and expansive attacking play that they witnessed in their 2-1 win over Aston Villa last week and much less of the frustrating and fruitless display that they produced in their 1-0 defeat to Preston North End at Deepdale this weekend.
Form (all comps): LWDWL
Once again, Reading’s Physio and Medical Departments continue to be busier than Purple Turtle on a bank holiday weekend, as Saturday saw both Liam Kelly and John Swift join the club’s extensive injury list. Both midfielders limped off during the first half at Deepdale, leaving them as doubts for the game against the Lions.
Garath McCleary could get his first start of the season as he continues to work towards full match fitness, whilst Joseph Mendes, who was dropped to the bench for Saturday’s trip to Lancashire, may be brought back into the starting line-up.
Form (all comps): LWDLD
Millwall’s 2-0 home victory against Stevenage in the first round of this season’s Carabao Cup constitutes their only win of the season so far, with the Lions struggling to kickstart their 2017/18 campaign. Despite running early league leaders Ipswich close in a 4-3 defeat at The Den, an opening day defeat to Nottingham Forest, coupled with uninspiring points against Bolton and Bristol City mean that the Bermondsey-based side may turn to the Cup to rejuvenate their start.
Goals have been hard to come by for the London outfit this year, with last season’s top scorers Steve Morison and Lee Gregory both failing to find the net so far this year. Club-record goalscorer Neil Harris is now the man in the dugout and he will be hoping that his leading line can take inspiration from his goalscoring exploits and break their duct sooner rather than later. If they cannot, advancing in the competition and indeed securing another season of Championship football could prove to be a real struggle.
What do the stats say?
Recent history suggests a Royals win
- Since the turn of the millennium, Reading have lost just three times to Millwall, with Lions fans having to go as far back as August 2004 to recall their last victory over the Royals. In their eleven meetings since that Millwall victory, Reading have won seven and drawn four, so history would suggest a third-round berth is well on the cards for the boys in blue and white.
The Carabao Cup has not been kind to the Lions
- It is not only the Royals’ own record against Millwall that can give them confidence going into Tuesday night’s tie. The Lions haven’t reached the third round of the League Cup since 2011, having gone out at the second round stage last year to Championship opposition, in the form of Nottingham Forest. Their best result in the competition has been reaching the quarter-finals three times, in 1974, 1977 and most recently in 1995.
However...they hold the advantage against the Royals in the Carabao Cup
- The two sides have met just once in the competition before, in 1984. Having drawn the first leg 1-1 at Elm Park, the Lions won 4-3 at The Den to secure a place in the second round, meaning that, in the League Cup at least, they can claim bragging rights...for now.
What about the history?
Head to Head
Last 5 meetings
27 January 2015: Millwall 0-0 Reading (EFL Championship)
16 September 2014: Reading 3-2 Millwall (EFL Championship)
01 February 2014: Millwall 0-3 Reading (EFL Championship)
26 October 2013: Reading 1-1 Millwall (EFL Championship)
03 February 2012: Millwall 1-2 Reading (EFL Championship)
Reading 5-0 Millwall, 20th August 2005, Madejski Stadium
It was this fixture that first gave us a glimpse into the true potential of the record-breaking 2005-06 side. Having bounced back from their opening day 2-1 home defeat to Plymouth Argyle with impressive away wins at Brighton and Preston, the Royals returned to the Mad Stad determined to extend their winning run. This was a feat that they achieved in imperious style.
From the off, Steve Coppell’s side played some dazzling football, outpacing and outclassing the Lions across the park. It took just six minutes for Bobby Convey to put the home side 1-0 up, a lead the American then doubled with a superb solo effort after twenty-five minutes. Goals from James Harper and Dave Kitson left the Royals 4-0 up at the break, before a late Steve Sidwell strike capped off a five-star Reading performance that sent the team to the top of the Championship table.
How can I follow the game?
Audio coverage will also be available on BBC Berkshire at 104.4FM, but not online.
Following the somewhat lacklustre display at Preston this weekend, I am expecting Jaap Stam’s side to bounce back with a better performance on Tuesday. The Madejski continues to be a fortress for the team, so I am backing Reading to make the third round with a 2-0 win.
Do you agree with out prediction? Let us know by taking part in the poll below and by leaving us a comment with your thoughts!
Who will advance to the third round of the Carabao Cup?
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