After Saturday’s scrappy win over fellow strugglers Millwall, The Royals travel to the Midlands to face a Birmingham City side yet to be beaten at home this season. Paul Clement’s men will hope to build on a positive performance and secure a crucial back-to-back win. However, will Birmingham’s home record hold firm for another week or can the Royals prevail?
Form (all competitions): WDLLW
Reading look set to keep Finnish goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola in the starting 11 after his impressive performance against Millwall. Both Vito Mannone and Sam Walker are nursing injuries and are likely only fit enough for the bench. Tyler Blackett and Garath McCleary could also keep their places after returning to the side.
McCleary’s appearance against Millwall came after eight months of being sidelined. Jon Dadi Bodvarsson will be assessed before the game as he is nursing a calf injury, but Yakou Meite will be pushing for a main striking role after his double on the weekend.
Top scorer (all competitions): Jón Dadi Bödvarsson (7)
Form (all competitions): WDDWW
The Blues do not have many injury problems coming into the game with Charlie Lakin being the only doubt with a quad injury. Garry Monk could name the same side that beat relegated Stoke City 1-0 away from home on Saturday. Birmingham’s last defeat in the league was August 22 against Bolton Wanderers, a week after Reading beat The Blues in the EFL Cup 2-0.
Strikers Lukas Jutkiewicz and Che Adams are both in good form with six and four goals respectively, 13 games into the campaign. A win for Birmingham could see them leap as high as 10th if results go their way.
Top goalscorer: Lukas Jutkiewicz (6)
- The Royals have beaten Birmingham in their last two league visits to St Andrew’s.
- The home side are unbeaten in nine Championship games (W3 D6 L0) which is longer than any team this season.
- Reading have yet to win back-to-back league games since December 2017 when Jaap Stam was in charge!
- Jon Dadi Bodvarsson has an impressive scoring run against Birmingham having scored in his last two appearances at St Andrews both with Reading and his former employers Wolves. (So lets hope he's fit to play!)
This will be a tough game for the Royals who have not performed very well away from home and are still not fully clicking as a squad. Players like McCleary and Blackett are still not fully match fit and the constant squad rotation has affected the squad’s performance.
Reading didn't play that great against Millwall even when they were winning so against an in-form side like Birmingham they are going to struggle. Still, I am optimistic Reading can get a result on Tuesday and build on that into the next game against Swansea City.
Birmingham 1-1 Reading