Tuesday night is the battle of the hoops (or fake hoops to some fans on each side) as Reading entertain Queens Park Rangers. Both sides once graced the bottom of the Premier League but are now slugging it out at the foot of the Championship. The visitors are experiencing a miserable run of form while Reading have sprung out of their horrid run, but as we all know this is the Championship and form is always temporary.
Can Reading finally win a mid-week league game at home this season or will QPR again spoil the party at the Mad Stad?
Form: LWLWD (all competitions)
The main news coming out of the Royals’ camp is that Vito Mannone is in contention for selection after a brief spell out through injury. The Italian shot stopper will be hoping to dislodge Sam Walker who has had a bright start to his Reading career. Paul Clement will likely shuffle the defence after the suspension of John O’Shea for his straight red in the Hull City game.
New signing Saeid Ezatolahi will keep his place in midfield after an electric performance against Brentford which won him TTE’s man of the match award. The Iranian playmaker looks to be the perfect balance between attack and defence, unlocking the qualities of Leandro Bacuna and John Swift.
Another player in form is Jon Dadi Bodvarsson who is the joint third top goalscorer in the league. Sky Sports reports that, across the top four English divisions, he has the fifth best minutes-to-goals ratio (95). With Sam Baldock being a major doubt for the game through injury, Bodvarsson will either lead the line by himself or be partnered with either Marc McNulty or Yakou Meite up front.
Top goalscorer: Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (6)
Form: WWLLL (all competitions)
QPR come to the Madejski Stadium in terrible form with three back-to-back defeats and sit one point above the Royals in 19th place. Steve McClaren’s side have had a shocking start to the season with the defence taking a battering, most notably conceding seven against high-flyers West Bromwich Albion in mid-August with a certain Hal Robson-Kanu scoring the last goal.
QPR don’t have any real fitness concerns coming into the match with defender Toni Leister and midfielder Sean Goss returning from injuries. They also have a certain Nakhi Wells up front who has haunted Reading during his time at Huddersfield Town, not to mention the many reportedly failed transfer swoops.
Top goalscorer: Eberechi Eze (3)
- Against QPR, the Royals have not won back-to-back matches in the league for 12 years
- This fixture at the Madejski Stadium has history of not being exciting on the goal front with just seven goals in the last eight games. So, it might be a quiet affair which would match the current mood in the stadium if recent attendances are anything to go by.
- QPR have conceded 18 goals this season which is only topped by bottom side Preston North End (21). Top of the league West Bromwich Albion put seven of those past Rangers on August 18.
With Reading’s recent resurgence, I have faith this could be a better game than in previous weeks as the side looks more threatening going forward. The main hump for the team at home seems to be getting the style of football to generate support of the crowd - the atmosphere has been so negative especially in mid-week games but better when we play away. If Reading entertain from the off then we could have a much better vibe in the crowd.
QPR are desperate for points as they slip closer to the foot of the table with no sign of that changing, and a win for Reading would see them leapfrog QPR and go as high as 16th. I can see Reading just edging this which will be a massive boost for both the players and the fanbase.
Reading 1-0 QPR