Our next Sky Bet Championship fixture takes us to Yorkshire, to play high-flyers Leeds United. Managed by Marcelo Bielsa, a man who has only managed the likes of Argentina, Marseille and Lazio, it should be an easy game for the Royals.
All jokes aside, it is so important that we start picking up points so we can propel ourselves up the table and out of danger. Leeds United will be looking to gain another three points at home to boost their chances of being in the promotion mix at the end of the season.
Goalkeeper Will Huffer was given his debut at the weekend after injuries to Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Jamal Blackman. The latter has been sent to back to Chelsea after starting his recovery from a broken leg.
Luke Ayling, Gaetano Beradi and Patrick Bamford will definitely not be available for Tuesday’s game, suffering from longer term injuries. Defenders Tom Pearce and Pontus Jansson may also miss Tuesday’s fixture after not featuring on Saturday as a result of knocks.
Leeds’ great start to the season was dampened by a 4-1 thumping at The Hawthorns against West Bromwich Albion earlier this month. However, the appointment of Bielsa has seemingly provided some long-needed stability at the Yorkshire club. Their 2-0 win over Bristol City on Saturday should have boosted their confidence ahead of the tie against Reading.
Callum Harriott and Adrian Popa are nearly ready for selection after both getting minutes in the U23’s game against Fulham. Omar Richards and Vito Mannone have also started to participate in training, with Mannone looking to claim the number one spot back from Anssi Jaakkola.
Paul McShane and Mo Barrow are also doubtful for Tuesday’s game, with Dave Edwards getting closer to returning. Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Saeid Ezatolahi are still several weeks away from being considered fully fit.
Taking five out of a possible 15 points is not an encouraging statistic for Reading. We have been saying this for a number of weeks now, but if Clement loses this upcoming game, that could be his last for Reading. After winning just once away from home once this season, the game at Elland Road will be a huge test for the Royals.
10/3/2018: Reading 2-2 Leeds United
14/10/2017: Leeds United 0-1 Reading
1/4/2017: Reading 1-0 Leeds United
13/12/2016: Leeds United 2-0 Reading
16/4/2016: Leeds United 3-2 Reading
Two wins for each team and a draw in the last five meetings between Reading and Leeds United sets up a fascinating clash. Both wins for Reading were vital to the club; the victory at home in April 2017 pulled the Royals one step closer to claiming a playoff place, while the victory at Elland Road in October last year allowed us to pull away from the Championship relegation zone.
- Reading have the best goal difference out of the bottom eight teams in the Championship.
- The Royals are three points behind where they were at this stage of last season. They’re currently on 17 points (after 18 league games).
- Leeds United have scored in every league game this campaign except one. This was in a goalless draw against Middlesbrough at the end of August.
- Former Oxford United striker Kemar Roofe is the club’s top scorer this season with eight league goals.
As much as I would like to be optimistic, I can not see a repeat of last season’s 1-0 win at Elland Road. Marcelo Bielsa has his side full of confidence and playing good football, and all the work that their owner did to secure the Argentine’s signature seems to be paying off. If The Whites manage to keep up their impressive form, they will be right in the mix for promotion at the end of this season.
This is a huge contrast to the situation that we find ourselves in. Fighting to stave off the threat of relegation is something that the Royals will be doing all season unless something drastic changes at the club.
Therefore, I think that Leeds will come out of this upcoming match with a convincing 2-0 win. Reading will have to beat the odds to come out with anything.
Leeds United 2-0 Reading